Essay on Prohibition in Usa 1900-1930

1043 Words Jun 30th, 2013 5 Pages
Prohibition in USA in the 1900’s
The prohibition was brought on by the strong temperance movement happening in America in the early 1900’s. These groups were devout Christians who vowed to be sober as they saw the affect alcohol had on families. But the members of this movement campaigned for everyone to give up alcohol. The arguments of the Temperance groups were so strong that they eventually convinced state governments to prohibit the sale and produce of alcohol in their state. Politicians backed this movement as it secured them votes in the rural areas, and by 1916, the sale and production of alcohol had been banned in 21 states. USA’s entry into the war strengthened this movement, as drinkers were being labelled as ‘Unpatriotic
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With majority of the country on their side, the temperance movement grew stronger and by 1917 they had enough states on their side to propose the eighteenth amendment, which ‘prohibited the manufacture, sale or transportation or intoxicating liquors’ and in January of 1920 it became a law, known as the Volstead Act.
The prohibition was not for everyone, and although a lot of Americans agreed with the movement, there were plenty who did not. People began to see there was potentially a lot of money in this, and began to set up illegal bars selling illegally made alcohol. A lot of these people were immigrants, who were poorly educated but also ruthless and clever. The government enforced the prohibition by implementing ‘prohibition agents’ who discovered and arrested offenders. But despite the work of these agents, who were poorly paid and had a large area to cover, it became apparent that it was practically impossible to effectively enforce prohibition in the cities. Many speakeasies thrived as bootleggers took advantage of the underpaid officers, and bribed them to keep quiet. Many people made a vast fortune through the movement, one of the most well-known being Al Capone, who made an estimated 2 billion dollars throughout the 13 years of prohibition. Al Capone was a well-known gang leader, and was renowned for his ruthlessness. His criminal activities were not…

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