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Why was prohibition introduced?

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Introduction

Why was Prohibition introduced? Prohibition was introduced as the Eighteenth amendment to the constitution- 'the prevention by law of the manufacture and sale of alcohol in the US from 1920 to 1933' - www.askoxford.com/consice_oed/prohibition?view=uk Passed by America's Federal Government, the law was first backed up with the Volstead Act, which laid down the penalties and the exact definitions of the alcohol prohibited, and was enforced with various degrees of success up until in was finally repealed by Roosevelt. There are several reasons, social, political and economic, why Prohibition was introduced- some seemingly more important than others. Firstly, Prohibition was introduced in order for the government to gain more power over the people. By banning the production and sale of alcohol, the government gained the support of a large proportion of the public who were against drinking and the various forms of 'evil' that it brought. "Many votes were won in rural areas because politicians promised to support Prohibition, which helped those politicians to win the election" - ...read more.

Middle

This is linked to the fact that a lot people at the time had the general opinion that alcohol caused violence. Furthermore, at the time people were beginning to realise that alcohol was not only harmful because it lowered inhibitions and caused violence, but also because it caused health problems and sometimes played a threat to people's lives. "Many American men suffered from Sclerosis, which is caused by alcohol" - www.library.thinkquest.org/28892/prohibition/why/index.htm . This obviously made the families of those men who frequently indulged in drink more keen to see Prohibition introduced. Linking in with the fact that the health risks alcohol posed meant an unpredictable and unstable future for the families of drinking men is the fact that these same men were prone to spending a large amount of money in bars and saloons. This had obvious knock-on effects- children and wives were neglected in favour of alcohol, and a lot of the income needed to pay for food or to cover other everyday costs was squandered. ...read more.

Conclusion

The banning of the sale and manufacture of alcohol, it was widely believed, was help companies to become more efficient as less workers would have to take days off because of heavy drinking. This also provided a motive for the Government as by introducing Prohibition they would gain support from these companies and industrialists. Although all of these factors played a key role in justifying why Prohibition was introduced, I feel the most important factor was the fact that the Government used the eighteenth amendment to gain support. This is because this can be tied in with many of the factors, such as the fact that the Government used Prohibition to effectively gain the backing of such groups as the anti-saloon league, employers, strict religious people, a large proportion of farming families and generally anyone else who was against alcohol. Sources used: www.digitalhistory.uh.edu/database/article_display.cfm?HHID=441 www.library.thinkquest.org/28892/prohibition/why/index.htm www.askoxford.com/consice_oed/prohibition?view=uk DeMarco, N -"The USA: A divided nation" (Longman, 1994) Kelly, N & Lacy, G -"Modern World History" (Heinemann, 2001) ...read more.

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