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The History of the 18th and 21st Amendment

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In the late 1800’s the 18th amendment was created. This began the prohibition era. This meant that the production, sell, and consumption of alcoholic products were illegal. This was a big problem for many people in the United States because a large percentage of these people drank alcohol. Following the 18th Amendment’s adoption, prohibition resulted in a public demand for illegal alcohol, making criminals of producers and consumers. The criminal justice system was swamped. Although police forces and courts had expanded in recent years, prisons were jam-packed and court dockets were behind in trying to deal with the rapid surge in crimes.

Organized crime expanded to deal with the lucrative business, and there was widespread corruption among those charged with enforcing unpopular laws. Groups dedicated to encouraging abstinence of alcohol, and had a number of reasons for it. They believed there was a direct link between alcohol and many disruptive behaviors, like child abuse and domestic violence. Also another famous concern was that of Henry Ford, who believed that alcohol had a negative impact on labor productivity.

Many others fought this growing issue tooth-and-nail. The Association Against the Prohibition Amendment and the Women’s Organization for National Prohibition Reform were just two of these groups. Despite the efforts of anti-prohibition groups, support gathered for a ban on alcohol, and Congress passed the 18th Amendment on Jan. 16, 1919 (it went into effect in 1920).

The amendment prohibited the manufacture, sale, export, import and transportation of alcoholic beverages — but stopped short of banning personal possession and consumption. But the people of the U.S. created something called a speakeasy or blind pigs. This was a place that would illegally sell and produce alcohol. In many rural towns, small speakeasies and blind pigs were operated by local business owners. These family secrets were often kept even after Prohibition ended.

Later on in the 1930’s they ratified the 18th amendment was ratified by the 21st amendment. This amendment stated that the 18th amendment was repealed and no longer in action.  I believe that they did this because there was more trouble with having to enforce a law against alcohol. There was so many people going against the rules that the jails and court were over loaded. This made them realize that it would be better to let them drink, rather than try and keep them from doing it.

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