Friday, February 23, 2018

In 1933 Congress Strikes the First Blow in The Fight to Kill Prohibition

     A lot of people feel that prohibition just appeared, it didn’t, it was a long time coming and it took a long time to appeal it.  I found this to be an interesting article worth reading.  How it came and went should be of interest to anyone that enjoys the freedom of choice here in America to have an alcoholic beverage.

     On January 20, 1919, the Eighteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution forbade, "the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors". It came into force exactly a year later, with the National Prohibition Act - usually known as the Volstead Act - setting out the detailed guidelines.  Prohibition had not come out of the blue. The Temperance Movement had been building strong support among the many churches since the early 1800s. Massachusetts was the first state to introduce anti-alcohol legislation in 1838, but it was short-lived. Maine did so more successfully in 1848.

     Prohibition was not a success.  Organized crime set up large smuggling operations across the Canadian and Mexican borders, as well as managing illegal shipping routes from the Caribbean. Domestic bootleggers began distilling vast quantities of homebrew, and medicinal and denatured alcohol were cut and washed for resale - sometimes with fatal consequences. All these products were pumped out through mob-controlled speakeasies and illicit drinking dens. In the space of only a few years, prohibition had given a new breed of gangsters undreamed of wealth and geographic reach. From this solid foundation, organized crime then diversified into narcotics, gambling, prostitution, and finance.

     Law enforcement agencies and organized crime gangs battled it out on the streets of American cities. The state's highpoint came in 1932 when Eliot Ness and his Untouchables from the Bureau of Prohibition succeeded in securing Al Capone's imprisonment for income tax offences. However, by this stage the tide had turned, and the whole violent experience of prohibition had killed off much popular support for the Temperance Movement.