The Controversy of the Prohibition in the 1920's Essay

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The Controversy of the Prohibition in the 1920's

Prohibition took place between January 1920 and December 1933, and was the statutory prevention of the manufacture, sale and transportation of alcoholic beverages in the USA. The policy emerged from the First World War and the moral climate of the United States at the time. Prohibition was and still is a source of discussion and debate, making it a highly contentious issue. Seen by many as the 'great experiment' of the 20th century, public opinion on the restriction was split, and prohibition was bound from the outset to be controversial.

The social and cultural climate in America during the early 1900s was changing. Many American people were
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There were a few marches and parades, but other than that there was little protest. Because of all this, there was hardly any real opposition to prohibition when it was first put into effect in 1920. This may have misled politicians and the Anti-Saloon League into thinking the 'experiment' would run smoothly. In fact, the opposition was mainly underground; people simply got alcohol illegally.

Because of smuggling and bootlegging, getting hold of alcohol in the 1920s was relatively easy. Liquor was smuggled in from various sources. Canada was smuggling in between five and ten million gallons of alcohol a year. As Roy Haynes of the Prohibition Bureau said, it was impossible to 'stop liquor trickling through a dotted line'. The government, namely the Prohibition Bureau, also found it difficult to stop alcohol being imported. This was because of America's 18,700 miles of coastline and land borders. Only 1,500 prohibition agents were originally employed by Congress to stop 120 million Americans from drinking, one example of the ill thought-out moves made by the American government. George Remus, the 'King of the Bootleggers' used the loophole in which chemists could sell alcohol on doctors' prescription. Remus manufactured medicinal alcohol and arranged for gangsters to highjack his products and sell them illegally. In five years he made $5,000,000.

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