The prohibition of alcohol was a long and debatable topic. Everything was truly against the law, drinking, selling, importing, manufacturing and transportation. Prohibition was instituted by the 18th amendment which was ratified in 1919. Prohibition can also be defined as a legal term which analyzes the environment where the law was actually enforced! Eventually what prohibition did was worse than good, it created an atmosphere of illegal and criminal behavior. It created a route for “organized crime.” If an individual could not get it the right way, they found it another way. The life term of this amendment was not very long, its unpopularity forced it to be taken back into courts, and in 1933, it was up to the individual states to do as they pleased with alcohol.
While I agree with Foners description of the Prohibition Act, I don’t believe he provided the right amount of time and information. The Prohibition Act was a very significant change in US laws and lifestyle. It involved an amendment and a ratification of the amendment and I feel Foner should have paid more attention to it. The whole issue of prohibition was a real debated issue and a lot of the supporting opinions argued back then are argued today with many issues the United States are facing. The image above, taken from cartoonstock.com depicts the closing of the saloons/bars during the days of prohibition.
One important change that occurred during World War I (The Great War) was the 18th Amendment, or better known as prohibition. As one reads Foner’s recollection of the Prohibition, you notice that Foner mentions the reasoning and support behind the 18th amendment. Even though he seems to mention every reason sarcastically, he doesn’t mention the outcome of prohibition in regard to ethical fathers/husbands, calm workers, etc. And he most certainly doesn’t mention the development of bootleggers and speakeasies that lead to the huge expansion of crime. On another note, neither did Foner mention, nor was I privy to the knowledge that during the prohibition many officers were trigger happy and caused the lives of hundreds upon hundreds of innocents as depicted by the picture below.
The 18th Amendment banned alcohol and allowed organized crime to make fortunes in the bootlegging business. Fortunes that spawned later political and musical careers, the alleged fixing of the world series, and an entire city, Los Vegas.