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The Drinking Age Must Not Be Lowered

1805 words - 7 pages

Lawmakers should not consider lowering the drinking age from twenty-one to eighteen. Despite the deep value this country places on freedom, personal liberties, and personal responsibilities, the data shows that public safety is greatly at risk if the drinking age were to be lowered to twenty-one. A variety of groups believe that the drinking age should be lowered to eighteen deeming that the twenty-one law is unconstitutional. On the opposing side, people agree that the law helps to protect our young people and the communities where they live.
Before World War II, the age of majority in America was twenty-one. At this age, men entered into their full rights and obligations, such as the expectation to fight for their country, the freedom to vote, and the right to consume alcohol (Poe, 2). There was no confusion pertaining to what a man was allowed to do. Everything was consistent. When the draft age was lowered to eighteen during the Second World War, the nation went into frenzy. The American people did not think it was fair that at eighteen young men could be forced to go out and fight for their country, but were not permitted vote (Poe, 2). In their minds the only compromise that seemed fair was to give the men the ballot in return for their service to our country (Poe, 2). However, no one argued that men be given the right to drink, because of their service to our country. In fact, Senator Joshua Lee believed that soldiers under twenty-one years of age needed to be protected from drinking by their older fellow service men (Poe, 2). Congress concluded that only the states could change their voting and drinking ages, but surprisingly, the states did not rush to do so (Poe,2). Eventually, the soldiers were demobilized, and for a while, that was the end of the argument.
The draft was reintroduced during the Korean War, in 1954 (Poe, 3). With the new draft in place, the voting age argument was brought up once again. In 1954, President Eisenhower called for a constitutional amendment to allow eighteen through twenty-one year old men to vote, but it failed to move forward (Poe, 3). Though congress failed to pass the amendment, three states went ahead and lowered the voting age on their own: Kentucky in 1955 (to eighteen) and Alaska and Hawaii in 1959 (to nineteen and twenty respectively) (Poe, 3). Then, the Vietnam War turned the tide. By the late 1960’s, thousands of youth were fighting an extremely unpopular war, which had all Americans on edge. Vandenberg’s new argument, “old enough to fight, old enough to vote,” had everybody talking (Poe, 3). In June 1970, President Nixon signed a bill giving eighteen year olds the right to vote (Poe, 3).
Though eighteen year olds now had the right to vote, they still could not drink. After The Prohibition ended in 1933, most states set the drinking age to twenty-one. The states that didn’t lower the age put limits on when, where, and what minors could drink (Poe, 3). During the 1950’s...

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