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Prohibition Of The United States Of America

The Volstead act or (Prohibition act) took effect in 1920, in several states across America laws were already in place to try and stop the consumption of alcohol, these laws were in effect before the 18th Amendment (Volstead act, Prohibition act) was passed before congress.

New York was the 1st state to have any such laws passed in the year 1697. This law simply stated that all saloons and drinking establishments must close on a Sunday as a Sunday is revered as a day of rest and prayer and not drinking. Then in 1735, the government introduced its 1st state wide ban on alcohol in the state of Georgia which absolutely failed and only lasted 7 years until 1742.

In 1851, they tried again to instill a ban on alcohol in Maine, this time but it worked even better than they had hoped and by 1855 a dozen other states had joined Maine in becoming what is known as a “dry state”.

In 1880, after the Civil War, women everywhere joined the “dries” and it was not long before the Temperance Movement was a power to be noticed. The WCTU (Woman’s Christian Temperance Union) was formed and the prohibition party started gaining some serious weight.

By the 1900′s, more than 50% of the continental united states had become dry, the prohibitionists thought they had the alcohol ban sorted and that there was no possible way for any person to get liquor into a dry state. Unfortunately for the “dries”, a loophole was found in the law, the loophole being the postal service, because the postal service was regulated by the federal government and not the state government, liquor could be mail ordered and shipped from a wet state.

This maddened the “dries” so in 1913, an Interstate Liquor Act was passed. This act effectively made it illegal for anyone to send liquor to any dry state by any means, which was really a huge loss for those trying to keep the liquor out, as it gave rise to far more illegal methods of obtaining the alcohol as liquor distilleries were now in league with crime bosses.

In 1917, the 18th Amendment was drawn up and it stated that it would now be illegal to buy, ship or even manufacture liquor, this was not sitting well with a lot of states so the amendment was debated in congress for a further 2 years. Then in 1920, 33 states had declared themselves as dry and this meant a major victory for the prohibition party.

January 20 1920, the 18th Amendment was ratified to make all hard liquor with an alcohol content over 40% (or 80 proof) be banned. Officially, it banned the production, sale, or transporting of such alcoholic drinks, this was supported by many people as they thought that only hard liquor was to be banned and that it would be fine to delight in a glass of wine with a meal or have a beer after work.

But, it was not until a year later, the Volstead Act (Prohibition Act) was passed. The Volstead Act completely banned all alcohol that had more than 1/2% alcohol content, this effectively banned all forms of alcoholic beverages, with the exception of course being non-alcoholic beers.

After the 18th Amendment was ratified, the Volstead Act was brought into the light by the prohibition supporters, for most of the prohibition supports who only wanted a small wine or the odd beer felt as though they had been betrayed as they were left with nothing when the act was passed.

1 group of that no one considered were the veterans of the 1st world war, these ex soldiers felt very betrayed returning home from fighting in the war, most of them had been stationed in France and came to know how a moderate amount of alcohol could in many ways enhance the quality of life, then coming home and finding out that the “dries” had won a total victory over alcohol added to the bitterness of the veterans disdain.

The fatal mistake with prohibition was to ban all types of alcohol, which lost the Prohibition Party nearly 80% of its followers.

Prohibition lasted for 13 years in the US until in 1933 the 21st Amendment was passed to officially end the ban on alcohol.

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