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Illegal Activities As A Result Of Prohibition

1084 words - 5 pages

While the Eighteenth Amendment, federally enforced prohibition, was ratified on January 16th, 1919; thirty three states had already been enforcing their own prohibitions for much longer. Prohibition was so widely accepted because of the awful effects it was having on the general populace. Throughout the history of the United States alcohol had a place in everyday life. It was not uncommon for it to be had at every meal, and there were even drinking breaks much like the smoke breaks we have in this day and age.(A Nation Of Drunkards. Prohibition: Roots of Prohibition. PBS, n.d. Web.) The staggering amount of alcohol abuse, mainly by men, wrecked havoc on the home lives many; either by lacking income as it was being spent on alcohol, or by domestic abuse. Temperance groups such as Women’s Christian Temperance Union; which fought for women’s rights as well as their dreams of a dry country, and the later Anti-Saloon League strived to get congress to pass an amendment that would abolish the manufacture, distribution, and sale of all liquor. The ASL grew in strength and became a particularly powerful social and political influence, and soon the amendment was ratified. The idea was noble, and for a just cause, however prohibition had the opposite effect than was anticipated. Rather than being the “The great social and economic experiment”(The New Day; Campaign Speeches of Herbert Hoover) that it was supposed to be, it increased crime rates and allowed for the formation of crime syndicates who would make millions in illegal liquor sales through, bootlegging; the illegal production of alcohol, and rum-running; the smuggling of liquor into the United States that was legally produced elsewhere.
Alcohol was outlawed from its manufacture to its sale, however there was a substantial rise in crimes related to alcohol, the opposite of what was supposed to happen. Rather than the people who were once drinkers allowing their favorite pastime to be taken from them, they found other illegal ways to obtain the proverbial forbidden fruit; through speakeasies and fake prescriptions, they still managed to get their hands on it. This led to dramatic rises in drunk driving, drunkenness and disorderly conduct and assaults related to drinking(Meredith). But none of these could compare to the brand new branches of criminal enterprise that had just opened up. With the outlawing of alcohol, there were many who understood that the American people would always need it, and would pay good money for it illegally. Speakeasies, illegal and hidden saloons, were popping up all across the nation. Many making their own liquor called moonshine, which was as dangerous to drink as it was illegal. Al Capone, the famous Chicago crime lord, was one of these people. Capone made his fortune from having total control over much of Chicago’s illegal liquor sales. Capone controlled the speakeasies, and he owned the distilleries and breweries (Allsop).
While the Federal Bureau of Prohibition was...

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