Prohibition Exhibition

The 18th Amendment established the prohibition of alcohol sales in the United States. The Volstead Act that followed defined which alcohols were prohibited and went into effect January 17, 1920. So, that would be 94 years ago tomorrow. In honor of prohibition (well, in honor mostly of it being over) we’re taking a look at a brief history.

– Alcohol abuse was rampant in the country’s early years. In fact, the average American consumed 90 bottles of 80-proof liquor per year. That’s quite a bit of booze.

 – In 1862, President Lincoln collected income tax to fund the Civil War. After several years of listening to public opposition to the income tax, Congress cut the tax rate.  So, from 1868 until 1913, 90 percent of all revenue came from taxes on liquor, beer, wine and tobacco.

 - The 18th Amendment barred the manufacture, sale or transport of intoxicating beverages. Why? There was a big social movement in the United States to restore moral order, and many were blaming booze for the problems that were plaguing Americans.

– During the Great Depression, the government sought to find ways to raise money. Legalizing alcohol way one way to boost tax revenue, so repealing the 18th amendment was beginning to be considered.

 – Couple much-needed government funding a new type of social disorder—bootlegging, gang violence, and other crimes—brought on by prohibition, the amendment was repealed.

So if you are someone who imbibes, raise a glass tonight in memory of the country’s “Great Experiment of Temperance” – and reflect on the fact that 94 years ago right now, people were doing the same and thinking they might not ever have another!