By: Isabelle, Christopher, Erin and Shannon

What is Prohibition?

It started when the 18th Amendment was ratified on January 29th, 1919, making it illegal to distribute, transport and manufacture alcohol. A lot of people highly disagreed with this Amendment and thought alcohol should be legal. There were also groups and people they were highly for this amendment because they thought it would destroy the lives of their families and friends.


Bootleggers would smuggle alcohol across the border, and bring it to the USA. Usually gangsters would hire these bootleggers to do the job for them. Al Capone was one of the most famous gangsters in Chicago.

US History Project - Bootleggers 1920's

Government Agents

The government agents felt indifferent about the prohibition. While they had an ethical and civic duty to protect and serve while following the law, drinking was their way out of the things too. But their job and duty came before their drinking and fun. They were not against this idea, but they were not for it either.

Women's Temperance Society

Some of the reasons for advocating the prohibition of alcohol was moderation from all things healthy; total abstinence from all things harmful and because any amount of alcohol is harmful, it rejects the mainstream christian belief that the consumption is not sinful, but from a medical point of you is very harmful.

Statistics of alcohols destructiveness:

a.) the majority of beer drinkers die from "dropsie" (edema or swelling)

b.) New York alone had about 30,000 speakeasies including public leaders who disregarded the law.

c.) The consumption dropped from 4.5 milion to 2 million in 1917 to 1919 consuming alcohol.

American Public

Since the 18th Amendment never prohibited the consumption of alcohol, even the average citizen broke the law by buying alcohol to drink. Since the Prohibiton went into effect a year after the Amendment's ratification, people found loopholes to drink. Many people bought cases of alcohol which where legal then, and stored them for personal use. Speakeasies, which were establishments that illegally sold alcohol, started opening up and were common and popular in this era. By 1925, there were thousands of speakeasty clubs in NYC.

Also, right after the ratification of the 18th amendment, organizations formed to repeal it, and one of their most used arguments was that alcohol consumption was a local issue and not something that should be in the Constitution.

American Public Prohibition

21st Amendment

The 21st Amendment was ratified on December 16th, 1933, and its purpose was to repeal the 18th Amendment. The 18th Amendment has been the only amendment to have ever been repealed. When the Stock Market Crash hit, the government needed money and people needed to work. They created the 21st Amendment in order to create more jobs for citizens and have additional sales taxes for the government.