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Was Prohibition a total failure?

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Prohibition was the ban on alcohol in America. The Prohibition era began in 1920, following the 18th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States in 1919. The amendment banned the sale or manufacturing of alcoholic beverages. Prohibition ended on 5th December in 1933 when the 18th Amendment was repealed by the 21st Amendment after 13 years. To enforce the 18th Amendment, Congress passed the Volstead Act. This law defined the prohibited "intoxicating liquors" as those with an alcoholic content of more than 0.5 per cent. Below this content was labeled 'near beer' which was legal. People believed that the consumption of alcoholic beverages presented a serious threat to society, especially the institution of the family. ...read more.


Simply, prohibition did not work, almost immediately people began to break this new law. Secret speakeasies opened up in cellars and backrooms. Prior to the abolition law there had been 15000 legal bars in New York, this increased to 32000. These speakeasies sold bootleg alcohol, which was alcohol that was smuggled into America from abroad, mainly Mexico and Canada. The smugglers were gangsters, ones who moved on from other things to supply the demand of alcohol or gangs that were formed during prohibition because it was such a good business. It was estimated that Alphonse Capone was earning around 100 million a year from his bootlegging activities. ...read more.


Figures show that arrests for drinking offences in Philadelphia nearly trebled within the first five years under the new law and the figures for alcohol seized by police in 1921 rose from 95,933 to 282,122 in 1930. Herbert Hoover described Prohibition as "A great social and economic experiment" which I believe is partially true. I believe it was an unsuccessful social and economic experiment but I don't think it was 'great'. Prohibition brought so many bad things to the country so I am sure such a thing will not happen again, hence "It was an experiment". In conclusion Prohibition was a definite failure but maybe it was an experiment, which had to be attempted. There were some good things, which came from this 'noble experiment' such as the lesson what was learned. Thomas Ainsworth ...read more.

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