Prohibition of The United States

The Volstead act or Prohibition act took effect in 1920. In several states across America laws were already in place to halt the consumption of alcohol. These laws were in effect ahead of the 18th amendment (Volstead act, Prohibition act) was enacted before congress.

New York was the first state to possess these laws passed in 1697. This law simply stated that all saloons and alcohol consumption establishments have to close on Sunday. Sunday for most religions is supposed to be a day of rest and prayer rather than drinking. In Georgia around 1735, the government passed its First state wide prohibition on alcohol. The ban survived only seven years and was a total failure.

In 1851, they attempted yet again to instill a ban on alcohol in Maine, this time it worked better than they had expected. By 1855, a dozen other states had joined Maine in becoming what is known as a “dry state.”

Following the Civil War in 1880, women of all ages joined the “dries”. It was not long before the temperance movement became a power to be reckoned with. The conservative Woman’s Christian Temperance Union, WCTU, was established and the Prohibition Party began gaining steam.

By 1900, over 50% of the continental U . S . was dry. The prohibitionists assumed they had the alcohol ban secured and there was not any possible way for any person to get liquor in a dry state. Regrettably for the dries, the US Postal Service unexpectedly supplied a loophole. Since the USPS was governed by the federal government rather than the state government, alcohol could be mail ordered and shipped by a wet state. This angered the dries. In 1913, an Interstate Liquor Act was approved. This act effectively made it illegal for any individual to send liquor to any dry state whatsoever. The end results was a step backwards for those attempting to keep liquor out because it gave rise to illegal methods of obtaining the alcohol because liquor distilleries were now in league with crime bosses.

In 1917, the 18th amendment was drafted rendering it illegal to buy, ship or produce liquor. This would not sit well with numerous states. The amendment was argued in congress for a further 24 months. In 1920 33 states had declared themselves dry which meant a big victory for the prohibition party.

January 29, 1919. The 18th Amendment was ratified to make all hard liquor having an ethanol content over 80 proof (40%) be forbidden. Legally, it banned the production, sales, or transporting of such alcoholic beverages. It was supported by many people as they thought that only hard liquor would be banned and that it would be fine to enjoy a glass of wine with supper or drink a beer in the evening. Nevertheless, it wasn’t until 12 months later, the Volstead Act (prohibition act) was approved. The Volstead Act totally banned all alcohol that had over 1 proof (1/2%) of alcohol. This effectively banned all types of alcoholic drinks, aside from non-alcoholic beers. After the 18th amendment was ratified, the Volstead Act was brought into the light by the Prohibition supporters. For the majority of the prohibition supporters who only wanted just a little wine or the odd beer believed they’d been betrayed since they were left with nothing at all when the act was passed.

One group of people that no one thought of were the veterans of World War 1. These soldiers felt very betrayed coming back home from battling in the war. Many of them had been stationed in France and came to know how a reasonable amount of alcohol could enhance the quality of life. Returning home and discovering that the dries had won a complete victory over alcohol added to the bitterness of the veterans disdain. The fatal miscalculation with prohibition was to ban all types of alcohol. 80 percent of the Prohibition Party supporters abandoned the party. Prohibition continued for 13 years in the US until in 1933 the 21st amendment was passed to officially end the ban on alcohol.

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