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Should The Legal Drinking Age Be Lowered

2087 words - 9 pages

“Prohibition... goes beyond the bounds of reason in that it attempts to control a man's appetite by legislation and makes a crime out of things that are not crimes... A prohibition law strikes a blow at the very principles upon which our government was founded.” - Abraham Lincoln
Those words spoken by Abraham Lincoln are as true today as they were in 1840, and yet history and current policies show us that for a large part 174 years has done very little to change people’s attitudes. The legal drinking age in the USA has been a topic of contention and debate since the ratification of the Twenty-first Amendment, which repealed the Eighteenth Amendment and ushered in the end of prohibition in 1933. (http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/prohibition-ends ) Add to works cited
The legal drinking age prohibition in the United States should be lowered from 21 to better align with existing rights and privileges of young adults and to promote open and honest conversations on responsible consumption.
The legal drinking age in the United States has been 21 since 1988 the last of the remaining states recognized the National Minimum Drinking Age Act of 1984 (NMDAA). The NMDAA was introduced as a way for the Federal Government to pressure the individual states to raise the Minimum Legal Drinking Age to 21 (MLDA21) with the consequence of losing 10% of their federal highway funds, which would amount to about 8 million for the smallest states or 99 million for the largest states. As none of the states wanted to lose their federal funding, they all signed laws mandating a MLDA of 21.
Prior to the passing of the MDAA each state had a different MLDA which they set at the end of prohibition in 1933. State government has the power to set their own MLDA, while most states set it at 21, many others had it set anywhere from 17 to 20. State governments were under a lot of pressure at the end of the Korean War by returning soldiers to lower the MLDA age to 18.
Years later there were grassroots movements by MADD and other lobbying groups who wanted to have the MLDA raised to 21. The MLDA21 movement cited statistics from some reports that showed a disproportionate number of crashes related to drinking and driving among young adults aged 17-21 as the reason why the MLDA should be raised. The lobbying groups were partially successful in having the MLDA lowered in some states; however they realized that they would only be truly successful if they were able to push for change at the federal level. Seeing as the MLDA could only be set at the state level under the 21st amendment, the federal government used provisions from the Federal Highway Safety Act of 1966 to hold back a percentage of the highway funds to states not in compliance with MLDA21. (http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1360-0443.2009.02742.x/pdf)  Add to works cited
When a person turn 18 in most states they are considered adults under law and have most of the same rights and...

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