National Minimum Drinking Age Essay

1757 Words May 15th, 2013 8 Pages
Today, the consumption of alcohol by anyone under the age of 21 is generally illegal across the United States; however, there are some states that have exceptions allowing underage consumption of alcohol in certain circumstances. Underage drinking is allowed if done on private premises with parental consent or for religious purposes. In Ruth Engs’ opinion, based upon her research, “as a nation we have tried prohibition legislation twice in the past for controlling irresponsible drinking problems. This was during National Prohibition in the 1920’s and State Prohibition during the 1850’s. These laws were finally repealed because they were unenforceable and because the backlash towards them caused other social problems. Today we are …show more content…
The United States, along with a handful of other countries, enforces the world's highest minimum drinking age at 21. This conservative restriction occurred pretty recently with Congress passing the National Minimum Drinking Age Act of 1984 which effectively blackmailed all states into adopting a standard drinking age. It did not take long for all fifty states to establish the federal standard, because to not doing so would mean loss of federal highway funds. This political coercion was necessary because this really is a states' rights issue because up until that point, the drinking age was determined on a state-by-state basis and ranged from 18 to 21. However, with pressure from special interest groups like Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) a precedent was established. The motives behind the 1984 bill were commendable, to raising the drinking age expecting to lower the incident of traffic fatalities and discourage irresponsible intoxication. Just one year later, Students Against Driving Drunk (SADD) was founded by a high school teacher, Robert Anastas, after two of his students died in alcohol-related car accidents. SADD is all about educating young people with prevention programs in schools and communities. It is the most dominant

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