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Courtney Christmas

Professor Matthew Higgins


13 November 2017

Alcohol has been around for a very long time and was believed to be the number on reason for crime and violence in America in the early 1900s. The distribution of alcohol has been around since the 1800s and some Americans were opposed to the sale of alcohol because of the effect it had on the societies of America. Violence was not the only thin increasing due to alcohol, some believed it to be a leading cause in prostitution as well. There were many people, men and women, that wanted the sale of alcohol to be banned; some even wanted Americans to stop drinking all together. By the late 1800’s prohibition started to become aggressive when alliances were formed to push prohibition. In this paper I will tell why and what led to America enforcing prohibition and the 18th amendment.

The selling of alcohol was believed to be the leading cause of behaviors of Americans and was seemed to be targeted at certain classes of society. Alcohol mainly effected the poor working class of people who could barely afford to even pay for alcohol. It was believed prohibition would monitor the behavior of the poor class and the “foreign-born” and the working class. The brewing of alcohol needed grain to produce the booze or alcohol, but because of the Great War the grain was need for the food to be produced. Brewing had become so prosperous that America started to realize that they were making to profit from the industry of alcohol, because of this the 16th amendment was enacted in 1913. The 16th amendment created the Federal Income Tax to replace the alcohol tax since America wasn’t making any money from the alcohol tax. This amendment helped the prohibition movement out a lot because it showed that the government had no use for the distribution or sale of alcohol. By December 18,1817 congress wanted the stated to enact the 18th amendment which would ban the distribution and sale of alcohol. January 16, 1919 the stated ratified the amendment and banned the “manufacture, sale, and transportation of intoxicating liquors. Some groups of women who formed organization supporting prohibition and the Anti-Saloon, that was created in 1893, helped to get the 18th amendment to be passed.

        With the 18th amendment finally in place It was thought that prohibition would help America. Evangelist Billy Sunday said because alcohol is banned, “men will walk upright now women will smile, and the children will laugh.”1 Many others also thought that prohibition would make America better, instead prohibition did the exact opposite. Fisher, an analyst, “estimated that it added $6 billion to the US economy”2, it did the complete opposite. It had proven to be a “colossal and costly failure.”  The Americans did not stop drinking nor did they actually selling and buying of alcohol. In most places it was still easy to get a drink. Citizens did not see the 18th amendment or the prohibition act as a law to be followed, they would rather bend the law a little and not abide by the rules set in place by the 18th amendment. Prohibition really rooted an uproar of crime and “bootlegging”. Since the manufactures and factories were closed down the demand for alcohol went nowhere but higher, and the supply was still being provided via illegally. Americans still craved for beer and alcohol and there were many willing to “bootleg” (sale) booze. With the illegal sale of booze taking place, the profit was extremely promising and drinking even increased. America lost profit with prohibition now that they have closed the breweries and the distilleries and saloons they have also closed job opportunities for thousands of Americans. In profit, America has lost over 10% revenue a year without the distribution of alcohol.



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