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U.S. Prohibition . 1920-1933. Who created the ban on alcohol?. 3 main groups lobbied early in the late 1800’s which led to the eventual passing of the 18 th Amendment Woman’s Christian Temperance Union Prohibition Party Anti-Saloon League. Why?. Concern over behavior of those who drank

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Who created the ban on alcohol
Who created the ban on alcohol?

  • 3 main groups lobbied early in the late 1800’s which led to the eventual passing of the 18th Amendment

    • Woman’s Christian Temperance Union

    • Prohibition Party

    • Anti-Saloon League


  • Concern over behavior of those who drank

  • “Respectable”

  • The culture of the growing populations

  • Some believed that the brewing industries were diverting grains, molasses and labor away from WWI wartime productions.

  • Also, Pabst, Schlitz and Blatz (German beers) reminded people of the enemy.

Why cont
Why? (cont)

  • The brewing industry was booming due to new technology.

  • They were able to refrigerate and sell by the glass.

  • They encouraged saloons to stock only their brand and if they wouldn’t, they would buy off their best bartenders by giving them an establishment of their own next door.

  • This got so out of control there was 1 bar to every 150-200 people (including non-drinkers!)

Why cont1
Why? (cont)

  • These establishments tried to lure patrons in with free lunches, gambling, cockfighting, prostitution and other activities.


  • The Prohibition Act was ratified on January 16, 1919 and took effect 1 year later:

    “After one year from the ratification of this article the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors within, the importation thereof into, or the exportation thereof from the United States and all territory subject to the jurisdiction thereof for beverage purposes is hereby prohibited.”

What it meant
What it meant

  • It was illegal to manufacture ofrdistribute beer, wine, or other intoxicating type beverages.

  • You could have it in your home with guests, but it must stay in the home and could not be distributed, traded or given away.

  • Doctors could prescribe liquor for medicinal use.

  • Churches and clergy could receive wine for sacrament.

The effects
The effects

  • Immediate consumption of alcohol dropped 30%.

  • However, illegal supplies and demand from a new generation of drinkers saw rise later in the decade.

  • Speakeasies, home distillers, bootleggers, rumrunners, gangsters gave rise.

The effects cont
The effects (cont)

  • Due to the Depression, the government could not fund control and only 1,500 agents nationwide were employed!

  • The alcohol from the Appalachian Mountain home stills was stronger than that prior to prohibition. It could be used to fuel cars, stills blew up, bottles exploded and alcohol poisoning was not uncommon.

The effects cont1
The effects (cont)

  • Rumrunners smuggled in liquor from Mexico, Canada, Europe and the Caribbean.

  • “The Real McCoy” – Captain William S. McCoy facilitated most of the rum running ships and did not water down his rum.

  • Speakeasy – illegal business serving liquor under the cover as a restaurant or dance hall.

  • Police officers could be bought off to look the other way or give notice prior to a raid.

The effects cont2
The effects (cont)

  • Gangster/The Mob

  • Myth: The mob held control of the illegal trafficking of liquor.

  • Truth: Gangster did run liquor in large cities, such as Chicago (Al Capone).

In the end
In the end

  • Prohibition was originally intended to reduce the consumption of beer, but ended up increasing the consumption of hard alcohol.

  • Prohibition was not popular with Americans.

  • An increase in women drinkers during the time proved it a more “respectable” activity.

  • Not enough law enforcement to control it.

The end cont
The end (cont)

  • Roosevelt’s first act in office was to change the 18th amendment by first legalizing beer and wine up to 3.2% alc/vol and then the 21st amendment repealing the 18th amendment.

  • The 18th amendment is the only amendment ever repealed.

  • The matter of prohibition was left up to each state. Mississippi was dry until 1966.

  • Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Texas and Virginia still have a high concentration of dry counties still today.