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Uploaded by charliethomas on Nov 21, 2001

What was Prohibition Introduced?
In the 1920’s American politics was dominated by democracy and the idea of isolationism to keep America prosperous was incredibly apparent. However in 1919, President Wilson passed the 18th Amendment to the American Constitution prohibiting the manufacture, distribution and consumption of alcoholic drinks (any drink containing over 0.5% alcohol).

Prohibition was not just a novel American idea, at the turn of the Twentieth Century, other countries were also experimenting with limiting or totally banning the production, distribution and consumption of alcoholic drinks the primary origins can be found all over the world. However, to find the origins for the American Prohibition we must look back to rural America in the Nineteenth Century.

Wilson was also pressured into passing the Prohibition Act by the powerful temperance movement during the Great War, claiming that alcohol was unpatriotic as it was made by American’s from German descent. Even though he tried to veto the amendment, he was overturned by Congress and reluctantly passed the legislation.

The law itself was amazingly ambitious as alcohol was the seventh largest industry in a nation which was ruled by “big business” and was an established and respected as part of the businesses which provided the wealth of America.

Although the technical reason as to why the Prohibition Law was passed was because 66% of the Constitution voted for it, one of the main reasons why Prohibition happened was because of its mass support. By 1920, thirty-three out of forty-eight states had passed Prohibition laws, making approximately 63% of the total population of America ‘dry’.

The main support for Prohibition came from moral crusaders in the South who were very anti-urbanisation like the American Society for the Promotion of Temperance in Boston and the Washington Temperance Society, whose groups grew in number between the 1820’s and the 1840’s. These groups campaigned against the effects of drinking liquor. Often this excessive drinking was blamed on the industrialisation of the rural areas in many counties as a result of social and economic change at this time. There were some protesters like the Irish Catholics who apparently were against prohibition because of their love of gin (!) as well as the congressmen of Massachusetts who famously said that, “the better the county the higher the alcohol content”. Still this was the beginning of the battle where it appeared that it was a case of “cornbelt over conveyor belt”.

Supporters claimed that alcohol deprived...

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Uploaded by:   charliethomas

Date:   11/21/2001

Category:   American History

Length:   12 pages (2,804 words)

Views:   2095

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