Prohibition Essay

963 words - 4 pages

In January of 1920, the Eighteenth Amendment to the Constitution was passed. The Eighteenth Amendment prohibited the manufacturing, marketing, transporting, and consumption of alcohol. This amendment caused more problems than it was intended to solve. (Poholek 1998) The original hypothesis established by the supporters of Prohibition was that by banning alcohol it would make the quality of life better while strengthening the economy, lowering crime, poverty, and alcohol related deaths. (Poholek 1998) The idea of prohibition was not a new concept. In fact before the Eighteenth Amendment was passed many states had already adopted a law very similar to it. Many people looked down on alcohol as a great evil and believed that if they had a law against it, and actually got so far as to ban it completely it would make us a greater society as a whole. (http://www.ihu.hkr.se/office/mdv/akk/projects/1998/prohibition/prohibition.htm) This idea was maybe a little to optimistic of a goal to attempt to reach, after all the majority of the adult population drank. The Anti-Alcohol activist were blinded by their own vision of a "utopian society" without alcohol. For example they believed that without alcohol, prisons would become less and less populated with criminals and that the homeless population would decrease. The result was contrary to their vision. The Federal Prohibition Bureau, which followed the Volstead Act, was established to enforces the laws of prohibition. In the beginning it appeared that prohibition was working, alcohol consumption was decreased by two thirds. But then alcohol became more and more easy to get with a very low chance of getting caught and prosecuted. "Speakeasies" were created, and also eventually people began to make their own alcohol in their homes. Speakeasies were saloons or night clubs which sold alcohol illegally. They were extremely common. The process of making your own liquor is called "bootlegging" or "moonshining". Bootlegging became mainstream and a job with incredible earning potential. It was estimated that one bootlegger was worth five million dollars. Many bootleggers didn't see their job as a risk. It was not difficult to conduct daily business and they really didn't have to worry about looking over their shoulders. Bootleggers and the common citizens were rarely caught. The vast supply of alcohol came from Canada, overseas, and was stolen from government warehouses. Ways of smuggling were very creative, clever, and difficult to detect. Some of the devises used to hide alcohol were false books, hollow canes, hip flasks, and anything else available.(Bowen 159) The Mafia became involved with Bootlegging. One of the most notorious gangsters involved with bootlegging was Al Capone. He was the head of all liquor trafficking in the Five Pointers Gang, the most powerful and ruthless gang in New York City. The gangs operations were moved...

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