Okay this is off topic for me and political. 

On December 5, 1933, the 21st Amendment was ratified, as announced in this proclamation from President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The 21st Amendment repealed the 18th Amendment of January 16, 1919, ending the increasingly unpopular nationwide prohibition of alcohol.

In 1826 the American Temperance Society was founded to convince people to abstain from drinking. Not long after, the Women’s Christian Temperance Union pledged not only to ban alcohol and drugs, but to improve public morals. Alcohol was seen as the destroyer of families and marriages. Men would often spend their money on alcohol, leaving women with no money to provide for their children. Factory owners also supported temperance as well because of the new work habits that were required of industrial workers – early mornings and long nights.  Progressive reformers also took to Prohibition for they saw it as a continuation of their efforts to improve society in general. Temperance societies and Progressives alike saw the need for more governmental control and involvement in citizens’ lives.

They did not stop there, however. The temperance societies began to push to change American society and elevate morality through national legislation. In 1917, the House of Representatives wanted to make Prohibition the 18th Amendment to the Constitution. Congress sent the amendment to the states for ratification, where it needed three-fourths approval. The amendment stipulated a time limit of seven years for the states to pass this amendment. In just 13 months enough states said yes to the amendment that would prohibit the manufacture, sale, and transportation of alcoholic liquors. 

The amendment worked at first: liquor consumption dropped, arrests for drunkenness fell, and the price for illegal alcohol rose higher than the average worker could afford. Alcohol consumption dropped by 30 percent and the United States Brewers’ Association admitted that the consumption of hard liquor was off 50 percent during Prohibition.  These statistics however, do not reflect the growing disobedience toward the law and law enforcement. The intensity of the temperance advocates was matched only by the inventiveness of those who wanted to keep drinking. Enforcing Prohibition proved to be extremely difficult. The illegal production and distribution of liquor, or bootlegging, became rampant, and the national government did not have the means or desire to try to enforce every border.  People found clever ways to evade Prohibition agents. They carried hip flasks, hollowed canes, false books, and the like. Neither federal nor local authorities would commit the resources necessary to enforce the Volstead Act. Ultimately, Prohibition made life in America more violent and fueled the rise of organized crime.

Today, the radical elements of the Republican Party (you know what I mean, those who are Republican in name but bear ZERO resemblance to the party of Reagan, Romney, or McCain) are pushing S. 2311 which is a bill to ban abortion in the same manner as the Volstead Act.  “Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it!”  I believe this amendment is not only a dangerous but truly unAmerican act (our nation was founded on the principle of religious tolerance and freedom with a Constitutional ban on a national religion).  Some of you may disagree but the simple fact is that, like all other national prohibitions (marijuana, alcohol, Cuban cigars, beluga caviar, any book other than the King James Bible in Texas or Florida, Haggis, raw milk, sassafras oil, corresponding with pirates, radar detectors, et al), enforcement will be a nightmare and HUGE national expense.  At some point, Americans must take responsibility for their own actions and not expect government to be their parents.  At some point people need to remember that “the purpose of government is to do for the people [only] that which they cannot do for themselves!”

Historical precedent is clear, legislated morality is a fool’s errand.  I am reminded of George Patton’s comment when asked about the Siegfried Line (German fixed fortifications along the French border).  “Walls a monument to the stupidity of mankind.”  So are bans.

Published by Michael Carver

My goal is to bring history alive through interactive portrayal of ordinary American life in the late 18th Century (1750—1799) My persona are: Journeyman Brewer; Cordwainer (leather tradesman but not cobbler), Statesman and Orator; Chandler (candle and soap maker); Gentleman Scientist; and, Soldier in either the British Regular Army, the Centennial Army, or one of the various Militia. Let me help you experience history 1st hand!

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