Prohibition Essay

1529 words - 6 pages

Prohibition
The 18th amendment, known as prohibition, had America in fits when it was ratified in 1919. The government was hoping to achieve a healthier, efficient society with good morals and a break for women from receiving beatings from drunken husbands. Although the motives behind prohibition were reasonable, it was so corrupted from the beginning that it never could have successfully been carried out. America became a lawless period, and many Americans felt that if they could get away with ignoring one law, then they did not have to follow any others (Axelrod 239). However, it may have been necessary for the progression of America for it accomplished a great many other feats other than sobering up citizens. Women fought actively for prohibition, but viewpoints change, and if you were not already against the amendment, chances are you would be soon enough. Prohibition was set up for failure, but was it reasonable to occur in America?
Who did prohibition effect? It was more like who didn’t prohibition effect? America was split between those who cared for the cause, and those who were persistently pursuing a repeal of the amendment. The government as a whole was pro-prohibition, of course, since they, along with some persuasion from groups such as the Women’s Christian Temperance Union, ratified the amendment in the first place (Lerner 171). Despite this, not all government officials were for the cause, and turned a blind eye to the making of selling of alcohol; that or they themselves would become bootleggers. A new form of gangsters, bootleggers’ felonies of selling alcohol became a very profitable business (Kyvig). After all, something is only worth as much as someone else is willing to pay for it, and Americans were more than happy to pay the price for alcohol. As well as bootleggers being a new concept to America, flappers hit the ground running as well, charming and disgruntling citizens with their newfound freedom to express themselves (Lerner 174). However, it was not only Americans who were feeling the sting of prohibition. Foreigners, especially Germans, were angry at the movement, feeling that they were being discriminated against for how they lived (Kyvig).
Alcohol was, at first, relief from stress for men, but soon became a part of society as a whole. Alcohol was a big factor in determining your social status and offered many men and women legal jobs to support themselves and their families. It was cheaper than other drinks, such as coffee or tea, and it was safer to drink than unpasteurized milk or impure water, so it was the ideal drink, some elderly citizens needed alcohol for medical reasons (Kyvig). Nevertheless, this did not stop the ratification of the 18th amendment.
When government embraced prohibition, what was taken for granted became lost. Women being submissive towards men, men holding down a secure job, and the economic boom of the Roaring Twenties all came to pass when alcohol was prohibited. Although...

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