American Prohibition Essay

2223 words - 9 pages

The Volstead Act and the 18th amendment proved to transform almost all upstanding Victorian Era American citizens—regardless of gender, race, or age—into criminals, and created a new liquid gold rush for the intelligent gangsters of the era to hit rich. Although these laws sought to give the government more judicial power, it turned hoodlums into politicians and politicians into hoodlums and replaced Capitol Hill with the racketed streets of America's cities. Prohibition in America heavily increased the amount of alcohol consumption and brought new participants into the drinking circle. Just as drinking increased, so too did crime; the saboteurs of the Volstead Act found ways to game the ...view middle of the document...

San Francisco in 1890; for example, had 3,000 registered saloons—1 for every 96 people living in the city—and a staggering 2,000 others that were believed to distribute alcohol unregistered.3 Saloons everywhere were dominated by men, and brought havoc on the wives and children of their patrons, causing rampant poverty and domestic abuse among American communities.4 For the working man, these abundant saloons were a place of solace, with some of the only public bathrooms and washrooms around, often serving free lunch to alcohol buying customers who usually worked close by, and most importantly, a place for social activity where brutish men could enjoy their free time away from women.5 However, women wouldn’t dare set foot in a saloon; thus they were down a recreational activity and bombarded with violence after their drunk husbands returned home. This was one of the major pushes for Prohibition as women were often subjected to violence by intoxicated men.
Given the social revolution of the early 1900s and the new youth culture in conjunction with the 18th amendment, the transition of the saloon and the tavern to the speakeasy was radical. Drinking became a more diverse activity, and of course, consumption continued its upward trend and was heightened to new extremes. When the Volstead Act permeated the thick skin of America, saloons weren’t closed down, they were merely converted into highly profitable and far more fun establishments known as speakeasies. The speakeasy carried with it new social norms, but it couldn’t have done it alone. Change came not only from Prohibition but also that it was perfectly timed with the social revolution of the early 1900s. A woman of the Prohibition era lacked many of her Victorian predecessors inhibitions, and was characteristically seen as a young, middle-class, sexual, drug abusing, working woman. This modern woman was know as a “flapper” or “sheba,” and dressed and acted to counteract the aspects of the American culture that had historically restricted women. Her male counterpart, “the sheik,” was the same way; known for breaking rules and social stigmas surrounding concepts such as purity and conservativeness. Sheiks and shebas had no trouble having fun. These young people were influenced by the grandiose new technologies such as the Model-T which aided their freedom, and the explosion of new media such as movies. For example the slang terms “sheik” and “sheba” originated in the 1921 movie “The Sheik,” and 66% of the 115 films that opened in 1929 depicted illegal drinking, often with women involved.6 With all the pressures of the changing world around them, youth “consciously forg[ed] their own set of behavioral and moral codes” and parents too didn’t want to be left behind in the old fashion, so they transformed as their children did.7
When the 18th amendment made alcohol illegal, this new youthful culture was a great partner in crime.  An excerpt from the pamphlet Why American Mothers Demand Repeal...

Find Another Essay On American Prohibition

Politics of Prohibition: Helpful Or Harmful To American Society?

1671 words - 7 pages Politics of Prohibition: Helpful Or Harmful To American Society? During the duration of this paper, I will discuss an issue that has been controversial for over a century; prohibition and how it has effected, currently effects, and will, most likey, continue to effect American society. The aspects that I choose to address from this issue are political, historical, they make you wonder, and they should effect anyone who reads this paper. For

How the prohibition of alcohol consumption damaged the economic and social aspects of American culture

1171 words - 5 pages There are many ways in which the prohibition of alcohol consumption in the United States of America, damaged the very economic and social aspects of American culture, that it was designed to heal."Prohibition did not achieve its goals. Instead, it added to the problems it was intended to solve." On 16th January 1920, one of the most common personal habits and customs of American society came to a halt. The eighteenth amendment was implemented

American Prohibition 1900-1945 Argumentative Essay: Prohibition fuelled the very thing it sought to destroy

1212 words - 5 pages On Midnight, January 16, 1920 the Prohibition or”the Noble Experiment” hit the United States. The aim of Prohibition was to reduce crime, poverty, death rates, improve the economy, solve social problems, reduce the tax burden created by prisons and poorhouses, and improve health and hygiene generally in America. For the first few months Prohibition was working just as it was planned to, crime rates were down and drunken disorderly

Prohibition

1146 words - 5 pages ; putting this plan into effect sent the United States out of control. In more words of H.L. Mencken: “For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong.” Works Cited Evans, Harold. “Turmoil of Normalcy.” The American Century. New York: Alfred A Knopf. 2000. 180-218. Print. “Prohibition.” Encyclopedia of American Studies. : Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore. 2010. Credo Reference. Web. 22 January 2014

Prohibition

974 words - 4 pages a narcotic in medicine as an anesthetic as the dangers associated with it are outweighed from the medicinal properties. The prohibition of opium originated from foreign disputes. Professor David F. Musto wrote that “Americans had quickly associated smoking opium with Chinese immigrants who arrive after the Civil War to work on railroad construction. This association was of the earliest examples of a powerful theme in American perception of drugs

Prohibition

1149 words - 5 pages In the United States, prohibition became so popular in the early 1900's that, in 1920, a prohibition amendment was added to the U.S. Constitution. This amendment, the 18th Amendment, caused the use of alcoholic beverages to decline sharply. However, many people ignored the national ban and drank illegal beverages supplied by networks of bootleggers. The 18th Amendment was abolished in 1933. It is the only amendment to the U.S. Constitution that

Prohibition - 1529 words

1529 words - 6 pages States, thinking that man would just overlook the temptation that alcohol presents? No, honestly I think that the goal of prohibition was, if at all possible, make America dry, but more realistically, clean up Americans enough to where they have good moral standing again. The amount of alcohol consumed per American went down significantly, benefiting not only morally, but their physical health improved as well (Kyvig). As well, one of the

Prohibition

1579 words - 6 pages , Edward. Thirteen Years that Changed America. Boston: Arcade Publishers, 1996. Blocker, Jack S. American Temperance Movements: Cycles of Reform. Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1989. Cayton, Mary Kupiec, et. al. “The Second Campaign Against Liquor and the Noble Experiment.” Encyclopedia of American Social History. New York: Smith Publishers, 1985. Coffey, Thomas M. The Long Thirst: Prohibition in America. New York: Norton, 1975. Johnson, George

Prohibition

1042 words - 4 pages put more money into savings accounts and productivity would increase among workers (Hanson 27). More importantly the “noble experiment”—was undertaken to reduce crime and corruption, solve social problems, and improve the health and hygiene in America” (Thorton 1). Although gangsters of the 1920’s were notorious for their violent turf wars,“the fundamental problem with prohibition was that an increasing percentage of American citizens refused to

Prohibition

719 words - 3 pages Prohibition      The success of the prohibition movement can be seen from many different views. It was measured by the prohibitionists many motives, their social make-up, their creative reasons they came up with to promote their cause, and the positive outcomes they imagined possible by prohibiting alcohol consumption.      The prohibitionists had several motives for letting loose their

Prohibition - 1095 words

1095 words - 5 pages . They held onto what they believed in. They did not let anyone come between what they wanted and what they had to do to reach these goals. They set impossible standards that they reached because of the perseverance they demonstrated. This time in history will forever be one of the most inspirational and unforgettable. Works Cited “End of Prohibition.” American History Online. Facts On File, Inc. http://www.fofweb.com/activelink2.asp?ItemID

Similar Essays

Prohibition: An American Failure Essay

2499 words - 10 pages Alcohol prohibition in America had major, long lasting effects on American culture. It was designed to take away something that seemed to contribute to many of society's biggest problems. Outlawing liquor was supposed to decrease crime and general immorality, to make the American lifestyle more virtuous. However, the changes it made to American culture were quite the opposite of what was intended. It didn't even succeed in its most basic goal to

Prohibition And The American People Essay

1231 words - 5 pages Prohibition and the American People Abraham Lincoln, arguably the greatest president in American history, is believed to have said, “Prohibition will work great injury to the cause of temperance. It is a species of intemperance within itself, for it goes beyond the bounds of reason in that it attempts to control a man’s appetite by legislation, and makes a crime out of things that are not crimes. A prohibition law strikes a blow at the very

The Negative Impact Of American Prohibition

1743 words - 7 pages , passed on October 28, 1919, that clarified the 18th Amendment. The Volstead Act stated that, "beer, wine, or other intoxicating malt or vinous liquors or any beverage that was more than 0.5% alcohol by volume" (Hanson) was to be prohibited. The Act also stated that owning any item designed to manufacture alcohol was illegal and it set specific fines and jail sentences for violating Prohibition. After the American Revolution, drinking was on the rise

The American Prohibition Of Alcohol In The 1920's

698 words - 3 pages The American Prohibition of Alcohol in the 1920's The prohibition of alcohol in the United States lasted from 1920 until 1932. The movement began in the late nineteenth century, and was fueled by the formation of the Anti-Saloon League in 1893 (Why Prohibition?). This league and other anti-alcohol organizations, began to succeed in establishing local prohibition laws. By the 1920's prohibition was a national effort. The prohibition