In order to under stand Prohibition
you must first understand the idea of
Many different Temperance Societies were
formed during the later 1800s and the early
These societies sought the
prohibition of alcohol for various
reasons. While most groups had the
public good in mind, others hated
This picture is propaganda from
the new Irish and German
temperance magazine showing
immigrants and wanted to punish the
the evils of Liquor
immigrants because they drank.
One of the most influential Temperance
Societies was the Woman's Christian
Temperance Union. It was formed by women of
the United States and Europe to influence
politicians to ban Alcohol.
Some very important Prohibitionists were
•Susan B. Anthony
This is the cover
of a temperance
These crusaders for their cause influenced
public opinion enough to amend the
The Ram’s Horn
from Maine, the Constitution of the United States
first state to have
a prohibition law
The Noble Experiment
Section 1. After one year from the ratification of this article
the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating
liquors within, the importation thereof into, or the exportation
thereof from the United States and all territory subject to the
jurisdiction thereof for beverage purposes is hereby
Section 2. The Congress and the several States shall have
concurrent power to enforce this article by appropriate
Section 3. This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have
been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the
legislatures of the several States, as provided in the
Constitution, within seven years from the date of the
submission hereof to the States by the Congress.
The ratification of the 18th amendment was completed January 16,
1919. The manufacture, sale, or transportation of alcohol was now
18th Amendment cont.
Congress passed the Volstead Act to
enforce the new prohibition on alcohol
The law went into effect on January
The major problem with
prohibition was that a
large percent of
wanted to drink. The
ban became nearly
impossible to enforce
because so many
people still drank.
Even though it was difficult the
Government tried to enforce
Prohibition. The newly formed
Prohibition Bureau tired to stop the
flood of liquor, but they seemed to
always by short of money and men.
CG Destroyer Paulding
with seized rum runner
The Bureau had a huge task ahead of it. Liquor was pouring into this country
from abroad. It was shipped to this country from Europe and the Caribbean.
Much of the booze came from Canada. Canada was exporting one million
gallons of spirits a year to the U.S.
The Bureau didn’t just have to
worry about alcohol from
foreign countries coming into
this country. As many as one half of
all the homes in the
Many Americans started to
make home made alcohol United States made their
In 1930 the Bureau seized 282,122 stills. Even this didn’t
make a dent in the alcohol available.
Many prominent American families of today
made their fortunes by making and selling
Americans still wanted places to drink and
socialize outside of their homes. Prohibition
closed legitimate bars and taverns, so
drinking establishments went underground.
These places where known as
speakeasies because you needed to
speak the password to enter.
Speakeasies provided an
Jazz music played, people ate
This woman is smuggling an
and drank. This was the first
alcohol flask in her garter.
time that men and women
People found many different,
drank together. Prior to ingenious ways to smuggle
Prohibition, just men drank at liquor. Tips of canes and the
taverns. insides of hats where also used.
Within 5 months of
prohibition Chicago had
over 600 cases against
violators of prohibition
Arrests for public
than doubled in 4
years after 1919.
The Prohibition wasn’t working.
An unforeseen problem with Prohibition was the
massive increase in organized crime.
Gangs of criminals had been organized in the
country for years, but now they could grow and
expand their influence due to the money they
racked in during prohibition. These gangsters
owned the speakeasies, for the most part, so
almost all the money the clubs made went to the
mobsters. With this money they expanded it to
This is the mob shot of Al
“Scarface” Capone. Capone other criminal enterprises. The mob also started
to bribe public officials. Many judges, lawmakers,
ran organized crime in
police and Prohibition Bureau members where all
Chicago after a bloody
on various crime organizations’ payrolls.
takeover. He never was
prosecuted for his violent
crimes, but he was sent to
prison for tax evasion
•Section 1. The eighteenth article of amendment to the Constitution of
the United States is hereby repealed.
•Section 2. The transportation or importation into any State, Territory,
or possession of the United States for delivery or use therein of
intoxicating liquors, in violation of the laws thereof, is hereby prohibited.
•Section 3. This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been
ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by conventions in the
several States, as provided in the Constitution, within seven years from
the date of the submission hereof to the States by the Congress.
The 21th Amendment was
ratified Dec 5th 1933
Prohibition failed and the 18th Amendment was repealed by 21st Amendment. It
is the only amendment to repeal an other amendment.
21st Amendment cont.
The 21st Amendment tried to do away with what
turned out to be a mistake in the 18th Amendment.
But all of the problems didn’t leave. Organized
Crime had a good foothold in this country and
plenty of money after the 1920’s and continued to
The Grand Experiment had
Prohibition started with Temperance movements in the late
1800’s. It gained support and the 18th Amendment to
the Constitution of the United States of America was
ratified in 1919. But prohibition was unable to be
enforced. Too many people still drank. The Prohibition
Bureau faced the problems of lack of funds and man
power and also corruption. Alcohol flowed into this
country from a broad and from within. Much of the
alcohol made its way into speakeasies, run by
gangsters, who grew in power and influence. After 14
years of Prohibition, the country decided to cut it’s
losses and it repealed Prohibition with the 21st
Links and sources
Amendments to the Constitution This site contains the Constitution
of the United States including the Amendments, and is put out by
the federal government.
Florida State University Prohibition Page This is an excellent source
Court Tv's Crime Library An excellent resource for Al Capone,
can also be used for most any criminal.
Genesis of Organized Crime in Chicago Resource site, written by
long time Chicago police dept. member and professor of
History Channel Website on Prohibition History Channel site on
Prohibition, links to related topics.
Links and Sources cont.
Photographs used from
Rum War: A Photo Gallery
And aforementioned sites