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10 Things You Should Know About Prohibition

1. Prohibition was tried before.
In the first half of the 18th century, revivalists from the church, as well as early teetotaler organizations like The American Temperance Society campaigned relentlessly against what they perceived as an epidemic of drunkenness across the country. The group scored a huge victory in 1851 in which they won when the Maine legislators passed a comprehensive prohibition on the sale of alcohol. Other states quickly adopted “Maine Laws” of their own but they were able to repeal the law in the following years, following huge protests and riots from the grog-loving population (Kansas adopted a different prohibition at the time of 1881). Demands for an “dry” America continued into the 1910s, as deep-pocketed and politically connected organizations like The Anti-Saloon League and the Women’s Christian Temperance Union received large-scale support for anti-alcohol legislation in Capitol Hill.

2. World War I helped turn the country in the direction of Prohibition.

Prohibition was essentially shut down by the time that it was the time that United States entered World War I in 1917, however the war was one of the last nail on the grave of alcohol that was legalized. Dry advocates claimed that barley used to make beer could be transformed into bread for the consumption of American soldiers as well as devastated Europeans and succeeded in gaining wartime prohibitions against alcohol that was strong. The anti-alcohol crusaders were usually fueled by xenophobia, and conflict allowed them to portray the largely German beer industry as threat. “We have German enemies in our country as well,” one temperance politician claimed. “And the most harmful of our German adversaries The most treacherous and menacing include Pabst, Schlitz, Blatz and Miller.”

3. It wasn’t illegal to consume in alcohol throughout Prohibition.

The 18th Amendment only forbade the “manufacture of, sales and transport of intoxicating liquors”–not their consumption. The law stipulated that all beer, wine or spirits that Americans kept in their cellars as of January 1920 was theirs to enjoy in the private of their homes. Most likely, it was to a handful of bottles, however some wealthy drinkers had wine cellars with a soaring volume and even bought entire liquor store inventory to ensure that they had a healthy supply of legal alcohol.

4. Certain states were unwilling to apply Prohibition.

Alongside establishing Federal agents In addition to establishing an army of federal agents, in addition to establishing a federal agent army, 18th Amendment and the Volstead Act specified that states were to implement Prohibition within their borders. Governors were not happy with the increased burden on their budgets However, they were often unwilling to allocate funds to enforce the prohibition on alcohol. Maryland did not even adopt an enforcement code and later earned the reputation for being one of the staunchest anti-Prohibition states of the Union. New York followed suit and removed its laws in 1923. Other states became less tolerant as the decade progressed. “National prohibition was put into lawful in the year 18 months in the past,” Maryland Senator William Cabell Bruce stated to Congress in the early 1920s “but it’s been stated that, unless to an extremely limited extent it has not been put into effect in any way.”

5. Drug stores continue to sell liquor as “medicine.”

The Volstead Act included a few fascinating exceptions to the ban on the distribution of alcohol. Sacramental wine was allowed to be used in religious ceremonies (the number of rabbis who were not trustworthy and priests soared) as well as pharmacies were permitted to offer “medicinal whiskey” for treating everything from toothaches to flu. With a doctor’s prescription, “patients” could legally buy a pint or two of hard liquor every 10 days. This booze for pharmaceuticals frequently came with a absurd doctor’s orders like “Take three ounces each hour as a stimulant until you are stimulated.” A number of speakeasies were disguised as being pharmacies and legitimate chains grew. Based on Prohibition expert Daniel Okrent, windfalls from legal sales of alcohol contributed to the success of the drug store chain Walgreens expand from around 20 locations to nearly 500 by the 1920s.

6. Brewers and winemakers came up with innovative ways to keep their businesses on the right track.

Although a number of smaller distilleries, breweries and distilleries managed to operate under cover during Prohibition however, others were forced to shut them down or come up with alternative ways to use their facilities. Yuengling as well as Anheuser Busch both refitted their Breweries to make Ice Cream, while Coors intensified its production of ceramics and pottery. Other breweries made “near beer”–legal beers that had lower than 0.5 percentage alcohol. The majority of brewers made a living through the sale of malt syrup an illegally shady extract that could be made into beer by mixing yeast and water, and then giving the fermentation process to take place. Winemakers also followed the same path by offering a small amount of grape concentrate referred to “wine bricks.”

7. Thousands of people died after drinking tainted alcohol.

Bootleggers who were savvy and creative produced millions of gallons “bathtub Gin” and rotgut moonshine in Prohibition. The illicit booze had a notoriously unpleasant taste and anyone who was willing to consume it were at risk of being blinded or poisoned. The most lethal tinctures included industrial alcohol, originally designed to be used in fuels and medical products. The federal government had ordered firms to denature industrial alcohol in order to make it drink-safe from the beginning of 1906, but in Prohibition it required them to include methyl alcohol, quinine and other poisonous chemicals to further hinder. Along with other poor quality items offered by bootleggers, this booze laced with poison could have killed over 10,000 people prior to it was wiped out by the 18th Amendment.

8. The Great Depression helped fuel calls for an end to the ban.

In the 1920s, Americans spent more than ever before on alcohol sold on the black market. New York City boasted more than 30,000 speakeasies. Detroit’s liquor trade is second to only the automobile industry when it came to the contributions to economic growth. As the nation was dragged down due to depression, Great Depression, anti-Prohibition activists claimed that the potential tax savings and the revenue due to alcohol are too valuable to overlook. The general public agreed. Following Franklin D. Roosevelt called for repeal in the course of his 1932 presidential election and won the election by a majority. Prohibition was repealed a year later when the majority of states ratified 21st Amendment repealing the 18th. At New Orleans, the decision was celebrated with a celebratory 20-minute cannon shots. Roosevelt was said to have celebrated the event with a drink of dirty martini.

9. The amount of alcohol consumed decreased in the course of Prohibition.

The “Roaring Twenties” and the Prohibition period are frequently connected with the uncontrolled consumption and abuse of alcohol, however the numbers reveal a different picture. According to research conducted by M.I.T. in conjunction with Boston University economists in the beginning of the 1990s, consumption of alcohol dropped by as high as 70 percent in the initial times during the “noble experiment.” The numbers soared dramatically at the end of the 1920s, when public support for the law declined however they remained lower by 30 percent than pre-Prohibition levels some time after the passage in the 21st Amendment.

10. It continues to happen in some regions of the country until the present day.

After the end of Prohibition however, certain states kept a prohibition on alcohol within their boundaries. Kansas and Oklahoma were still dry up to the years 1948 and 1959 respectively. Mississippi was alcohol-free until the year 1966, which was 33 years after the passing in the 21st Amendment. In the present 10 states have counties that prohibit sales of alcohol completely.

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