This ppt originally appeared on the Langley Secondary School website at http://www.langley-sec.solihull.sch.uk/documents/history/revision/prohibition.ppt. This site went down in July 2010, so I have copied it here.
Prohibition The 18th Amendment
What was ‘Prohibition’? • A law called the Volstead Act introduced in the USA in January 1920. • It banned the manufacture, sale and transport of alcohol. • The federal government had the power to enforce this law. • It theory the USA became ‘dry’. • It has since become known as the ‘noble experiment’.
Why was prohibition introduced? • It already existed in many states • Moral reasons • Campaigners like the Anti-Saloon League of America • The First World War
What were the effects of prohibition? • Speakeasies • Moonshine • Smuggling • Organised crime
Speakeasies • Secret saloon bars opened up in cellars and back rooms. • They had names like the ‘Dizzy Club’ and drinkers had to give a password or knock at the door in code to be let in. • Speakeasies sold ‘bootleg’ alcohol, smuggled into America from abroad. • Before Prohibition there were 15,000 bars in New York. By 1926 there were 30,000 speakeasies!
Moonshine • A spirit made secretly in home made stills. • Several hundred people a year died from this during the 1920s. • In 1929 it is estimated that 700 million gallons of beer were produced in American homes.
‘Bootleggers’ • Smugglers called ‘Bootleggers’ made thousands of dollars bringing in illegal alcohol to America. • America has thousands of miles of frontiers so it proved easy. • Famous smugglers like William McCoy made fortunes by bringing alcohol from the West Indies and Canada.
Organised Crime • The enormous profits to b made attracted gangsters who started to take control of many cities. • They bribed the police, judges and politicians. • They controlled the speakeasies and the distilleries, and ruthlessly exterminated their rivals.
Al Capone • By 1927 he was earning some $60 million a year from bootlegging. • His gang was like a private army. He had 700 men under his control. • He was responsible for over 500 murders. • On 14th February 1929, Capone’s men dressed as police officers murdered 7 members of a rival gang. This became known as the ‘Valentine’s Day Massacre.’