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Stuff Essay

1017 words - 5 pages

The sale of alcohol in America is a major economical contributor bringing in billions of dollars yearly. However, almost a hundred years ago the distribution and consumption of alcohol became illegal in America spanning thirteen years altogether. This era in American history is widely known as Prohibition and resulted from temperance movements sweeping the nation. As supporters of the temperance movement felt that alcohol had adverse effects on American society and greatly affected the health of consumers. The main supporters of this movement was comprised mostly of women early on as their husbands alcoholism resulted in instability and abuse. It is reported that by the 1830’s the average American consumed seven gallons of pure alcohol alone annually (Roots of Prohibition).
Although, it was not until the Anti-Saloon League led by Wayne Wheeler did banning alcohol in America became an achievable goal. The league gained popularity for it was willing to have a partnership with anybody willing to support their sole goal of a constitutional amendment banning alcohol on American soil. For supporters of the Anti-Saloon League included political parties, influential organizations, and industrial tycoons like Henry Ford. Nevertheless, the group did not get real momentum until 1913 when America thought it could depend on income tax alone to fund government operations. Furthermore, the group relied on propaganda as America entered World War I as they connected beer with foreign enemies further resonating the evils of alcohol in American’s minds. In addition, thirty-three states had previously had their own prohibition laws in effect before the official ratification of a national prohibition law. So, after only thirteen months passing through congress the eighteenth amendment was ratified in 1920 (Roots of Prohibition).
Regardless of this, Americans quickly found out that getting the law passed was easier than actually enforcing the law. As president at the time of ratification Herbert Hoover stated that prohibition was "the great social and economic experiment, noble in motive and far reaching in purpose”. In the beginning of prohibition the task of enforcing the newly enacted law fell upon the internal revenue service more commonly known as the IRS. However, the job the later fell upon the justice system to carry out. In fact, prohibition seemed to be a national success as arrest for intoxication and alcohol consumption appeared to decline. Yet, in reality it was only rural areas and small towns that mostly abided by the new regulations in comparison to their urban counterparts (Prohibition).
Moreover, the banning of alcohol had negative effects on the way of life in America especially economic growth. For early supporters believed that declining alcohol sales would better the markets of other industries as Americans looked for new alcohol free entertainment. Instead, the opposite happened and places like restaurants could not thrive without the legal...

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