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Why was Prohibition introduced into the USA in 1919?

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Introduction

USA Coursework Essay - Why was Prohibition introduced into the USA in 1919? On the 16th of January 1920 the Eighteenth Amendment to the US Constitution, together with the Volstead Act, banned the 'manufacture, sale, or transport of intoxicating liquors', which were defined as having more than 0.5% alcohol. This was called 'Prohibition'. This essay explores the reasons why Prohibition was introduced into the USA. The reasons for Prohibition consist of a number of long-term factors that had been around for a long time, e.g. the religious arguments, and short-term factors, which affected America only shortly before the ban and caused real, definite action to take place, e.g. World War One. In 1865 the Civil War ended, and many people moved west to a state called Kansas. These people were pious Protestants wanting a new moral order. ...read more.

Middle

As well as this, husbands were spending their family's savings stupidly on alcohol instead of other essentials, e.g. education. That predicament led to family arguments, which eventually led to divorce. The problem pressurized women the most - this is what caused them to set up the Women's Christian Temperance Union. It was the success of temperance and anti-saloon movements like these that were part of the short-term causes for Prohibition. Because of the large numbers of members they had these societies were very successful at persuading authorities to introduce laws against alcohol consumption. The movement stressed other long-term reasons, e.g. it was a matter of democracy to make saloons illegal, because saloons represented a forum for political debate - excluding women (drunken men decided politics!). Being 'dry' (as supporters of anti-drink laws were named) ...read more.

Conclusion

supported this, and pushed for a national ban. It became clear that a national ban was indeed needed - one that would prevent states from slipping back into old ways after declaring themselves dry. During the 1916 Congress election there was a big campaign to vote dry. Finally, Detroit became dry - the 1st city to do so. The liquor trade failed to unite against this threat, and eventually the scene was set for an amendment to the US Constitution. In conclusion, Prohibition was introduced in 1919 and this was due to many different reasons. It was not a new idea as the movement had already begun in 1830 when women opposed men drinking. The turning point was when the movement's success pressurized politicians to jump on the 'dry bandwagon', and when WWI changed people attitudes towards drink. Businessman such as Henry Ford also stressed economical arguments, and eventually the anti-saloon league pushed for a constitutional change. ...read more.

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