When Americans said goodbye to alcohol, 1920-1933

Prohibition was an attempt to outlaw the production and consumption of alcohol in the United States. Calling for Prohibition began primarily as a religious movement in the early 19th century—the state of Maine passed the first state Prohibition law in 1846, and the Prohibition Party was founded in 1869.

The movement found support from social reformers in the 1880s and 1890s, who saw alcohol as a cause of poverty, industrial accidents, and the breakdown of families; Others linked alcohol to urban immigrant ghettos, criminality and political corruption.

With America's entry into World War I in 1917, Prohibition was associated with grain preservation. It was also intended for brewers, many of whom were of German descent.

Limits on alcohol production were first imposed as a war measure in 1918, and the prohibition became fully established with the ratification of the 18th Amendment in 1919 and its entry into force in January 1920.

Described as "a great social and economic experiment" by US President Herbert Hoover from 1929–1933, Prohibition had a considerable impact on American society before its repeal in 1933.

The 18th Amendment stipulated that you could not make, sell, or transport alcohol. Under the terms of the Act, Prohibition began on 17 January 1920.

The Act defined 'intoxicating liquor' as anything containing one-half of one percent alcohol by volume, but allowing the sale of alcohol for medicinal, religious or industrial purposes.

The personal possession or consumption of alcohol itself was not illegal and, as many Americans continued to demand alcoholic beverages, criminals stepped in to satisfy the demand by illegitimate means.

Where there were formerly bars and saloons, there were now illegal drinking places known as 'speakies' or 'blind pigs', which by the end of the decade numbered an estimated 200,000. People also began to produce their own illicit liquor or 'moonshine', 'bath-tub gin', or home-brewed beer.

Law enforcement thus proved too difficult for local police forces and the federal Prohibition Bureau, or Prohibition Unit.

The bureau had about 3,000 agents who were to investigate the illegal internal production and transportation of alcohol throughout the country, along with police along the coastal border and land borders with Canada and Mexico to prevent smuggling.

During prohibition, the consumption of hard liquor (spirits) probably dropped by as much as 50 percent and the consumption of other alcoholic beverages by about a third.

As a result, this had a somewhat positive effect: the number of deaths due to cirrhosis of the liver declined significantly, but to some extent, deaths from drinking alcohol were compensated.

However, in 1929, Mabel Walker Willebrandt, the former Assistant U.S. Attorney General, who led the prohibition trials, acknowledged that alcohol "can be purchased at almost any time of day or night, in rural districts, small towns or cities." Is. "

Also prohibition almost completely destroyed the brewing industry, causing huge loss of jobs. This resulted in a loss of $11bn in tax revenue, and cost $300m to implement.

Passed in February 1933 and ratified on December 5, 1933, the 21st Amendment repealed the 18th and thus ended prohibition in the United States.

After 1933, alcohol control became a state, not a federal issue. Some states were 'drought' for a few years - Mississippi was the last until 1966, but there are still local areas where alcohol is banned.

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