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Prohibition and The Great Gatsby

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Prohibition and The Great Gatsby. One of the classic novels we read in class this semester touches on one of the most important times in American History, Prohibition. The Great Gatsby a novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald is set in the 1920's. Fitzgerald touched on the night life, and the bootlegging of that time. While the government shut down the bars, and clubs, the gangs members took over, and opened speak easies. Prohibition was the government's way of trying to control people, but it never really kept people of that era from drinking. Prohibition was an amendment to the constitution of the United States that prohibited the consumption, distribution, and manufacturing of any alcoholic beverages. Prohibition ran from January 16 1920, and ended on December 5 1933. During this time if you were caught with alcohol, or consuming alcohol you would be arrested. This did not stop people though. They just found illegal clubs (speak easies) to do their drinking in. Most of the individuals that drank during the time of prohibition were wealthy. The Great Gatsby has its share of drinking, throughout the novel the characters are constantly drinking, or going to drink. ...read more.


It was however impossible to manufacture a beer with a lower content without producing an illegal mixture first. The process of making what now came to be known as near-beer involved the production of genuine beer with an alcoholic content of three or four percent and then the de-alcoholization of this beer until it reached the legal limit. Prohibition Commissioner Kramer, New York Times, April 27, 1921. The third source of supply was smuggled liquor (bootlegging). It was an important source, particularly in the early years of prohibition. This was really easy to accomplish because of the short distances from the neighboring country that border the United States. To prevent such smuggling, the government had in 1920 a force of 1,550 prohibition agents. There duties included not only the prevention of smuggling, but all matters that pertained to the law. There were also some 3,000 customs agents. They received some assistance from the Coast Guard and the Public Health departments, and other local and federal government agencies. Report of the Commissioner of Internal Revenue, Fiscal year ended June 30, 1920 p. 33. The fourth source was industrial alcohol. This was a munificent source of supply, because the experiment with federal prohibition coincided precisely with the development of a large Chemical industry. ...read more.


When the law went into effect the people who really needed, or were addicted to the alcohol would risk everything they had to get it. They would either make it themselves, they would get it from their doctors, or they would go to Canada and get it illegally. When prohibition was repealed in 1933 some might say that for those 13 years that the Country was under prohibition were some of the most expensive times of our lives. Some believe that we should go back to Prohibition, because of all the problems the world is having with alcohol and teenage drinking, drunk driving, and all other alcohol related problems. According to Nick Gillespie Teenage wasteland Prohibition was repealed 70 years ago, but the mind-set behind it lingers on. According to CASA (Columbia University Center on Addiction and Substance children abuse) they claim that children between the ages of 12 and 20 consume an unbelievable 25% of all alcohol sold in the United States. This is very disturbing, this is why some people think that we should reinstate the 18th Amendment. They believe that this will save the youth, and help the many people who are struggling with alcoholism. If this amendment was reinstated this would not help people, because it would make them go to great, and dangerous lengths to get there fixes. ...read more.

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