In December of 1917 the Eighteenth Amendment or Prohibition Act was passed, outlawing alcohol for American citizens. Thais was a major movement within U.S. history. Drinking increased substantially in the years after the Civil War, causing the desire for change within America. Overall drinking caused a major upset for men and women living within the 20’s. Research has shown that the Prohibition was caused by major social and financial issues, which resulted in negative economic effects and organized crime.
The increased amount of immigrants led to an increase urbanization throughout the United States, this was said to cause violence levels to skyrocket. A big factor that led up to the urbanization of America was the rapid industrialization sweeping through the nation at the same time. The integration of opposing cultures and people caused strife within communities, “More and more immigrants came to the U.S. and had set up an urban lifestyle. There were high crime rates and fighting problems” (Dannenbaum). Some people blamed the root of this violence to be alcohol, “In the past, crime and alcohol were associated and was believed that alcohol was the main source of evil power” (Dannenbaum). Many citizens believed that alcohol was a central factor in bad decision making. People used this angle of violence and alcohol to pave the road for the Prohibition. Many did not just want a gradual decrease in the production and distribution of alcohol, but wanted it stopped swiftly and instantaneously. This was just one of the causes leading up towards the Prohibition.
The outrage towards alcohol increased when citizens speculated that too many resources were being used to make alcohol, instead of contributing to other useful areas of daily life. Jed Dannenbaum, within his book, Drink and Disorder: Temperance Reform in Cincinnati from the Washingtonian Revival to the WCTU states that: “Land was being used to make alcohol when it should have been used to make food for soldiers that went to war” (Dannenbaum). This caused controversy among citizens and contributed to many propaganda campaigns that were against the use on America’s very limited assets. Due to the extensive amount of concern about using too many natural resources to make a substance that was deemed unnecessary to day to day life the ratification of the Prohibition act was accelerated. Later Dannenbaum within the text of his books also goes on to say, “And the war time Prohibition act was passed to save grain for the war effort during World War 1” (Dannenbaum). A substantial amount of grain went to the making of alcohol, to put this into perspective it was reported that 39,000,000 bushels of grain was used within 1919. This specific angle was used to coerce American citizens into taking responsibility by helping the war effort and conserving what they could, which led to more support towards the potential Prohibition act.
On a widespread scale the Prohibition impacted the economy in a...