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A short history of the alcohol prohibition in the united states

Disposal of liquor during prohibition Photo by Unknown What was prohibition? Prohibition was a period of time when it was illegal to sell or make alcoholic beverages like beer, wine, and liquor.

When did it start? Throughout the early 1900s there was a movement, called the "temperance" movement, that tried to stop people from drinking alcohol. People who joined this movement believed alcohol was a leading cause in the destruction of families and moral corruption. During World War I, President Woodrow Wilson put an end to the manufacture of alcoholic drinks in order to ration grain that was needed for food.

This gave the temperance movement a lot of momentum and, on January 29, 1919, the 18th Amendment was ratified a short history of the alcohol prohibition in the united states alcoholic drinks illegal in the United States.

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Bootleggers Despite the new law, many people still wanted to have alcoholic drinks. People that made alcohol and smuggled it into cities or to bars were called "bootleggers.

Speakeasies In many cities a new type of secret establishment began to spring up called the speakeasy. Speakeasies sold illegal alcoholic beverages. They usually bought the alcohol from bootleggers. There were lots of speakeasies in most towns throughout the United States.

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They became a major part of the American culture in the 1920s. Organized Crime Selling illegal alcoholic drinks became a very profitable business for organized crime groups. One of the most famous gangsters of the time was Al Capone of Chicago.

There was a significant rise in violent gang crimes during the prohibition years. Prohibition Comes to an End By the end of the 1920s, people began to realize that prohibition wasn't working.


People were still drinking alcohol, but crime had increased dramatically. Other negative effects included people drinking stronger alcohol because it was cheaper to smuggle and a rise in the costs of running the local police department. When the Great Depression hit in the early 30s, people saw ending prohibition as an opportunity to create jobs and to raise taxes from legally sold alcohol.

In 1933, the Twenty-first Amendment was ratified that repealed the Eighteenth Amendment and ended prohibition.


Interesting Facts About Prohibition Some businesses were also behind the prohibition movement as they thought alcohol increased the risk of accidents and lowered the efficiency of their workers. It was never considered illegal to drink liquor in the United States, just to make, sell, and transport it.

Many wealthy people stockpiled liquor prior to the start of prohibition. Some states maintained prohibition after the 21st Amendment was passed. The last state to repeal prohibition was Mississippi in 1966. There are still some "dry counties" in the United States today where the sale of alcohol is banned.

Doctors would often prescribe liquor for "medicinal" uses during prohibition. Activities Take a ten question quiz about this page. Listen to a recorded reading of this page: Your browser does not a short history of the alcohol prohibition in the united states the audio element.

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