Prohibition in the United States [1913 – 1933], also known as the “Prohibition Era” was the national ban on the sale, manufacturing and transportation of alcohol. [Wikipedia, 2012] This prohibition era led to rebellion, which resulted in underground criminal organizations, i.e. the American Mafia, corrupt politicians and police officers.
The prohibition era set precedence for the amount of consumption of alcohol and smuggling of illegal substances in America. Most people didn’t appreciate the prohibition of alcohol and continued to attend the thousands of bars that sold alcohol illegally. Speakeasy’s like Bill’s Gay Nineties were raided quite often and even went as far as to install secret levers at the bar that would shoot the bottles of liquor down into the basement into a pit filled with sand so that the glass would not break. Inventive stuff! Due to the overall sentiment against prohibition, police officials had a very hard time enforcing the law. From its very inception, the law lacked legitimacy in the eyes of the public who had previously been drinkers and yet completely law-abiding citizens.
Although the prohibition era was an important part of alcohol’s history in America it was far from the first time it became a hot topic. The prohibition era was one of the victories from many years of efforts against the consumption of alcohol that branched from the American Temperance Society. (ATS). ATS was founded in 1826 with a platform on temperance (the social movement urging the reduced use of alcohol) and also supported the abolition of slavery and expansion of women’s rights.
The marketing and sale of alcohol today in America is a billion dollar industry that doesn’t do half as much as it should to warm against the health effects alcohol has on the human body or the long-term consequences of drinking. The prohibition era was not successful but most “bans” or “eradications” hardly go over smoothly. People are afraid of change and get stuck in their ways very quickly. People will naturally rebel and as we know criminal activity thrives off of illegality. Alcohol can be and is extremely dangerous and the prohibition era tried to stifle these dangers with a complete ban of alcohol which was not the right way to go about the issue of consumption and resulted in more problems than it helped. Regardless the prohibition era does not mean that alcohol is NOT dangerous.
Underage drinking, DUI, and alcohol related deaths are all topping the charts and have caused a lot of needless deaths throughout the United States. Alcohol is a drug and should not be abused. The prohibition era attempted to crack down on the use of alcohol completely but in today’s society it’s our duty to promote the safe consumption of alcohol, which includes not drinking alcohol at all, and drinking within the legal limits.