Causes And Consequences Of Alcohol Prohibition

1570 words - 6 pages

Prohibition and other substance bans have a long history in the United States dating back to the late 19th century. Cohen (2006) believed the root cause for drug-prohibition movement, including alcohol, derives from race. In the era of mass US immigration, Chinese, Mexicans, Black Africans, and European denominations, posed a democratic threat to White “native” Americans. White Racial fears amplified the moral problem of drug use to the Protestant Church by associating drugs with individual racial minorities. In the 1870s, the US government successfully prohibited whites from visiting opium dens in San Francisco’s China Town, isolating opium use to Asians. In the 1930s the government banned marijuana in order to criminalize Mexican farm workers flooding the south-west in search of work. During the Progressive era, leaders in the south created a moral panic by associated urban riots and rape to Black’s cocaine use: “Negro cocaine friend”. Later in the paper, the Klu Klux Klan were another notorious group to implement protestant morality such prohibition reinforcement on White Catholics. (Cohen, 2006)
The growing movement that led towards the 18th amendment started in the late 18th century and remained a controversial topic till the 1930s. From the favourable perspective, alcohol has been imbedded in American culture ever since the first settlers arrived. It was was associated and symbolized the pesky tavern resistance, a historical rallying point where colonial Americans resisted British rule. It also tied communities together, and it was used for celebrating achievements. It was also considered healthy in moderate doses. On the other hand, between 1800 and 1830s, alcohol started having a more destructive effect on America society: low wages, Neglected and abused families, moral ignorance, crime, poverty, health issues such as diseases. Rise in alcoholism reinforced by the arrogance of the liquor industry in the age of Capitalism exposed issues in power, culture and authority of american public life. Binge drinking and stronger drinking patterns were more frequent amongst the population which increased demand for higher alcohol production. Local Brewers were losing the competitive edge to mass centralizing liquor industries who could monopolize the sale of high-percentage, alcoholic drinks such as whiskey with cheaper prices. Husbands neglected and abused families. Moral ignorance became more acceptant in drunken stupors. Due to the monopolizing effect of the industrial revolution, there was less opportunity for small time brewers to pursue their entrepreneurship, which fostered low waging jobs, more poverty and higher crime rates. Alcohol was corrupting politics as well. Politician would use alcohol as a mechanism to gain more votes by bribing and creating false realities by denying class distinctions. Many saw this as a negation of democracy for selfish politicians. (Pegram, 1998)
Unfortunately most early temperance movements failed. For...

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