The Drinking Age Should Be Lowered

2320 words - 9 pages

There are numerous problems involving alcohol in the world today, including alcoholism, drunk driving, and alcohol poisoning leading to death. Many of these problems involve minors and are linked to drinking underage. The legal drinking age in many states is twenty-one years old. The purpose of this law is to keep minors out of danger: away from drunk driving, alcohol poisoning, and injuring the brain before it is fully developed. The government supports the belief that people are not ready or responsible enough for alcohol until this age. However, various professors and researchers are discovering ways to disprove this belief. These people think that reducing the drinking age to eighteen would influence our country in a positive way. Not only do minors support this idea, but there are numerous people and organizations that support the idea of lowering the drinking age as well. The current drinking law is counterproductive in our society because it’s not effective in eliminating underage drinking, and leads to unsafe situations such as drunk driving and alcohol poison instigated deaths. This problem could be solved by lowering the minimum drinking age to eighteen, with a drinking license.
“Either we are a nation of lawbreakers, or this is a bad law”, says John McCardell, author for the Greenhaven Press (McCardell, 2012). What McCardell is referring to is the law barring the consumption of alcohol in individuals under the age of twenty-one in the United States. John McCardell is the former president of Middlebury College, and he is also the founder of the Choose Responsibly group (Baldouf, 2007). This group is a nonprofit organization that travels around the country sharing McCardell’s proposal about the drinking age. He has spent a considerable amount of time studying how alcohol is abused in college students (Baldouf, 2007). McCardell suggests it is time to rethink the drinking age in the United States (McCardell, 2012). First of all, why are eighteen year olds considered minors only when it comes to drinking? After all, they are legally permitted to drive, get married, smoke cigarettes, and even to join the army. If they can make the choice to do these things, are they not capable of making the choice to drink?
The drinking age in America has changed multiple times throughout our history. In fact, there were no such things as mandates on drinking until 1851, when Maine passed the law on prohibition. Soon after, many other states followed in their footsteps. Congress first pressed the issue on the whole country in 1917, and the law was ratified two years later. In 1920, the government created the 18th Amendment, which officially banned everyone from the production, distribution, and consumption of alcohol. Throughout this entire time period, the demand for alcohol continued to thrive, leading to flourishing acts of bootlegging (Rotunda, 2004). It took years for the government to give up on this law, but it did finally...

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