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What To Know About Prohibition

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1. Prohibition has been tested before.
In the beginning of the nineteenth century, the religious revivalists as well as early teetotaler organizations like The American Temperance Society campaigned relentlessly against what they perceived as an epidemic of drunkenness across the country. They scored a significant victory in 1851 in which they won when the Maine legislative body passed a state-wide prohibition against selling alcohol. The same year, a dozen other states adopted “Maine Laws” that they had enacted on their own, but they were able to repeal the laws within a couple of years after massive protests and riots by people who were grog-addicts (Kansas also enacted a separate prohibition on 1881). Demands for the establishment of a “dry” America continued into the 1910s when rich and politically-connected groups like The Anti-Saloon League and the Women’s Christian Temperance Union were able to gain broad support for anti-alcohol laws in Capitol Hill.

2. World War I helped turn the country to Prohibition.

Prohibition was essentially shut down by the time that it was the time that United States entered World War I in 1917, however this war proved to be one of the final nails on the grave of alcohol that was legalized. Dry advocates claimed they believed that the barley utilized to make beer could be turned into bread that could be fed to American soldiers as well as devastated Europeans and succeeded in securing wartime prohibitions on alcohol that was strong. The anti-alcohol crusaders were usually fueled by xenophobia and the conflict allowed them to portray America’s predominantly German beer industry as an enemy. “We have German adversaries in this nation, as well,” one temperance politician claimed. “And the most dangerous of our German adversaries The most treacherous and most threatening, include Pabst, Schlitz, Blatz and Miller.”

3. It wasn’t illegal to consume in alcohol throughout Prohibition.

The 18th Amendment only forbade the “manufacture of, sales and transport of intoxicating liquors”–not their consumption. The law stipulated that all beer, wine or spirits that Americans kept in their cellars as of January 1920 could be theirs to keep and drink in the privacy of their home. The majority of the time, this was amounted to just a few bottles, however some wealthy drinkers constructed wine cellars that were awe-inspiring and even bought entire liquor store inventory to ensure that they had a healthy supply of legal alcohol.

4. Certain states have refused to apply Prohibition.

Alongside establishing the federal police force Along with establishing an army of federal officers, as well as establishing an army of federal agents, 18th Amendment and the Volstead Act specified that states were to apply Prohibition within their own boundaries. Governors were unhappy with the additional pressure on their coffers but most of them did not allocate funds to enforce the prohibition of alcohol. Maryland has never even passed an enforcement code and later earned the reputation for being one of the staunchest pro-prohibition states in the Union. New York followed suit and ended its prohibition in 1923. Other states became more sloppy as the decade went on. “National prohibition came into legal effect about six years in the past,” Maryland Senator William Cabell Bruce stated to Congress in the early 1920s “but it is true to stated that, unless to the extent of a very limited degree the law has never been put into effect in any way.”

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5. Drug stores continue to sell the alcohol labeled “medicine.”

The Volstead Act included a few fascinating exceptions to the ban on the distribution of alcohol. Sacramental wines were still allowed to be used in religious ceremonies (the number of doubtful rabbis and priests soon soared) and drug stores were permitted to offer “medicinal whiskey” for treating everything from toothaches to flu. If a physician’s recommendation was given, “patients” could legally buy a pint or two of hard liquor every 10 days. This booze for pharmaceuticals frequently came with a absurd prescriptions from doctors like “Take three ounces of alcohol every hour as a stimulant until you are stimulated.” Many speakeasies later were disguised as being pharmacies and legitimate chains flourished. Based on Prohibition scholar Daniel Okrent, windfalls from legal sales of alcohol contributed to the success of the drug store chain Walgreens expand from around 20 locations to nearly 500 in the 1920s.

6. Brewers and winemakers came up with innovative ways to keep their businesses in business.

Although a number of smaller distilleries, breweries and distilleries remained to operate under cover during Prohibition and prohibition, the remaining had to close the doors of their operations or discover alternative ways to use their facilities. Yuengling along with Anheuser Busch both refitted their Breweries to make Ice cream, and Coors intensified its production of ceramics and pottery. Other breweries created “near beer”–legal craft beer that had just 0.5 percentage alcohol. The majority of brewers made a living by selling malt syrup, an illegally shady extract that could be made into beer by mixing yeast and water, and then permitting the fermentation process to take place. Winemakers also followed the same path by offering a small amount of grape concentrate referred to “wine bricks.”

7. Thousands of people died after drinking tainted alcohol.

Ingenious bootleggers created millions of gallons “bathtub Gin” and moonshine rotgut during Prohibition. The illicit booze had a notoriously unpleasant taste and anyone who was who were compelled to consume it were at risk of being blinded or even poisoned. The most dangerous tinctures were made up of industrial alcohol that was originally designed to be used in fuels and medical products. The federal government had ordered firms to denature industrial alcohol in order to make it drink-safe in the year 1906, but in Prohibition they were required to include methyl alcohol, quinine and other poisonous chemicals as a way to deter. Together with the other cheap products offered by bootleggers, this booze laced with poison could have killed over 10,000 people prior to it was wiped out by the 18th Amendment.

8. The Great Depression helped fuel calls for an end to the ban.

In the late 1920s Americans had been spending more than ever before on alcohol sold on the black market. New York City boasted more than 30,000 speakeasies. Detroit’s industry of alcohol came second in importance to automobile industry when it came to the contributions to economic growth. As the nation was dragged down in depression, Great Depression, anti-Prohibition activists claimed that the possible savings and tax revenues generated by alcohol consumption were just too valuable to overlook. The general public agreed. When Franklin D. Roosevelt called for repeal at the time of the presidential election in which he was elected president by a huge margin. Prohibition was repealed one year later when the majority of states signed the 21st Amendment repealing the 18th. Then, in New Orleans, the decision was celebrated by a 20-minute celebration cannon firing. Roosevelt believed to have marked the occasion with a drink of dirty martini.

9. The amount of alcohol consumed decreased in the course of Prohibition.

The “Roaring Twenties” and the Prohibition period are frequently connected with the uncontrolled consumption and abuse of alcohol, however the numbers reveal a different picture. According to a study done by M.I.T. in conjunction with Boston University economists in the beginning of the 1990s, consumption of alcohol dropped by as high as 70 percent in the first few times during the “noble experiment.” The rates soared significantly during the latter half of 1920, when popularity for the law decreased however they remained at 30 percent lower than levels prior to Prohibition for many years following the passing in the 21st Amendment.

10. It continues to be prevalent in certain parts of the country until today.

After the end of Prohibition however, certain states kept a prohibition on alcohol within their boundaries. Kansas and Oklahoma were still dry up to 1958 and 1948 respectively. Mississippi was alcohol-free for 33 years following the passing in the 21st Amendment. Today there are 10 states that have counties that prohibit sales of alcohol in full.