Prohibition: The Failed Amendment Essay

1815 words - 8 pages

“Prohibition” is an implementation of law that completely prohibits the sale and consumption of a certain substance. During the years 1920 through 1933, alcohol was banned from being manufactured, sold and consumed in the USA. Section one of the Amendment states that “after one year from the ratification of this article the manufacture, sale or transportation of intoxicating liquors within, the importation thereof into, or the exportation thereof from the United States and all territory subject to the jurisdiction thereof for beverage purposes is hereby prohibited”. Just three hours after President Wilson tried to veto the bill, the House passed it at a vote of 176 to 55, and shortly after ...view middle of the document...

Those in favor of prohibition were known as the “dries” and those against it were known as the “wets”. Division between the wets and dries mostly ended on January 17, 1920 when prohibition took effect. “Some of the more ardent ‘wets’ will continue their efforts to prevent the ‘drought’ until the last moment. But their efforts are admittedly forlorn. The breweries here and planning either to abandon their works or turn them into soft drink producers.” A huge part of culture was obviously changed when prohibition took effect. Bars closed down and alcohol suppliers either had to abandon what they were doing or change. People began becoming dangerously desperate for alcohol and resorted to illegal methods of receiving it such as bootlegging. The prohibition amendment was creating lots of tension between the dries and the wets and also within business owners. This is one of the more negative things that prohibition brought about.
As stated before, prohibition created more crime and disrespect towards the government and law enforcement. While prohibition did have its good side, it’s obvious that the negative effects outweighed these entirely. Bootlegging was a massive organized crime “industry” if you will during the times of prohibition. It wasn’t an easy business to be a part of, but the reason it stayed around was fairly simple: it created a huge profit and was extremely beneficial to anyone that took part in it. The cost of the manufacturer of alcohol was nothing compared to what you could make selling it. It was an extremely high margin item. In a newspaper article dating back to April 16, 1922, a bootlegger describes the business as “Many a poor taxi driver who struggled vainly before prohibition to amass a sum sufficient to buy a car is now his own boss, no longer a slave to pitiless taskmasters who forced him to make his taximeter show two miles for every mile traversed with a passenger. He has no need of accelerating his taximeter. He can even afford to disdain tips, for the passengers he carried in cases pay him in a day what formerly he required a week to earn”. Bootlegging opened up doors that could never have been opened otherwise, so of course men would take part in it. Organized crime is a dangerous business that many men found themselves a part of because of bootlegging. “I sincerely believe that up to the time the methods of enforcing this law were adopted the moral sentiment of the United States, especially outside a few large cities, was against liquor. Today, I don’t know about it. If a vote were taken in Milwaukee now, I think the vote would show a majority against prohibition”. Just because people are morally against something doesn’t mean that the government should be able to ban it. America is founded on the idea of freedom and people are really uptight about that.
Other than bootlegging, like stated before, people were angry with...

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