Alcohol used to be illegal (18th Amendment)

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18th amendment

The 18th amendment is the only amendment to be repealed from the constitution. This unpopular amendment banned the sale and drinking of alcohol in the United States. This amendment took effect in 1919 and was a huge failure. Not only did regular people find other ways to drink alcohol, criminals made a lot of money selling alcohol to those people. The 21st amendment repeals the 18th amendment in 1933, and today we call the period that the 18th Amendment was law Prohibition.

The 18th amendment was not always unpopular. In fact, some states had already banned alcohol before the 18th amendment. Before the 18th amendment became law, religious activists, famously women but also some men, blame alcohol for violence and other problems that were affecting American families. They would take axes and other weapons and attack saloons or other places that stored alcohol, destroying all of it. The motivation for the 18th amendment was inspired by these activists and their desire to make a better society by outlawing alcohol. We now know that the 18th amendment failed and in fact, made things worse.

As far as I am concerned, there are very few advantages to alcohol consumption and any advantages there may be, are vastly outweighed by the negatives. The negatives would include the strain on the health services, and the destruction of families who have an alcoholic amoung them. It causes destructive behavior and makes workers less productive. It is widely regarded that if alcohol were introduced today, it would be put into either a class A or B drug. But we have a drinking society and any attempt to get rid of it has ended in failure (as with prohibition), which is an indication of our dependence on it. I think that it is clear that the social cost of alcohol is much greater than the social benefit, and as a society we should strive to reduce it’s consumption.

click here for images of Prohibition smugglers.

I think the 21st Amendment was ultimately ratified because it was too hard to enforce the 18th Amendment.  Too many people were breaking the law and it was leading to violent outcomes with organized crime and the Mafia.

 

1 Comment

One Response to “Alcohol used to be illegal (18th Amendment)”

  1. bunbun on May 8th, 2014 10:48 am

    It is crazy that alcohol was once banned in the US. I didn’t even know there was an amendment that banned it either.

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