The New Prohibition Essay

1621 words - 6 pages

Prohibition was a time when gangsters ran the United States and the government could do little to stop it. The Prohibition period in the United States occurred from 1920 to 1933 in the United States, and was a period where it was illegal for any United States citizen could consume alcohol. Instead of simply following the law, many United States citizens went to illegal saloons called “speakeasy” (Thornton) to consume alcohol. Gangs and mobsters who made the booze in dangerous ways, which resulted in the endangerment of the American people, ran these places. For example, the gangs that ran the speakeasies use to brew the alcohol in large lead vats, which in some cases “poisoned the alcohol that was brewed” (Did). Many Americans were poisoned through drinking the illegally produced alcohol, and a few even died. Finally, after thirteen years the government realized that Prohibition was a complete failure and relinquished the Amendment that created it with the Twenty-first Amendment.
One may be wondering, “How does Prohibition relate to present day society?” Well, the system that was created under Prohibition still exists in a similar form in present day society for eighteen to twenty-one year old citizens of the United States. In this age group, a person is a legal adult and therefore is able to sign contracts, join the military, and various other things. However, even with all these other abilities, this age group is not allowed to buy and consume alcohol. The National Minimum Drinking Age Act sets the consumption and purchasing age of alcohol at twenty-one, and states that a percentage of highway funds will be withheld from any state that did not set their drinking age at twenty-one (Did). The 1984 Nationial Minimum Drinking Age Act sets to fix the drinking problem by setting the drinking age at twenty-one, however, this act only amplifies the problems of underage drinking, and therefore should be abolished.
Before 1984, states in America had the ability to set the age in which alcohol could be bought and consume to any age the state saw fit. This power was not, “… specifically delegated to the Federal Government in the Constitution, and therefore is a power that belongs to the states” (Minimum). Therefore, the drinking age varied from state to state. Approximately, three fifths of all the states in the US set the legal age at eighteen (Pflughoeft). However, this all changed the summer of 1984. “The National Minimum Drinking Age Act quickly cleared both houses of Congress… and went into effect” (Minimum). Under the provisions of this act, the federal government withheld a, “… significant percentage of highway funds from the state” (APIS), from any state that did not follow the age set to consume alcohol in this act. When confronted with this penalty, all fifty-one states followed suit and changed the ages to twenty-one, despite what the age was originally set at before the Act (Facts)
The United States Constitution states that, “The powers...

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