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The people had suffered this act were brought to a conclusion, but with

the thought of reality of Prohibition in practice the charm was undone, and the

law appeared in its true aspect a monstrous reversion to the bogies of our

historical infancy. (Monahan 82)

National Prohibition, brought about by the Eighteenth Amendment and

enforced through the Volstead Act, lasted for over ten years. Besides a

growing lack of public support for both Prohibition and temperance itself, the

outlaw of alcohol continued throughout the United States--at least in the law

books. In practice, however, National Prohibition was much less effective

than temperance and Prohibition leaders had hoped, in the end causing more

problems than it solved. Once started, Prohibition led to the rise in crime

during the twenties, the public health problems associated with bootleg liquor

and alcohol substitutes, the problems between religious, racial, and the

political rise in response to its presence.

Prohibition did enjoy some success. History revealed that alcohol

drinking did drop after the National Prohibition and the Volstead Act. This

lower on a national level was not all that much to the effect of recent

problems in specific areas or communities. Also, after this drop alcohol

drinking continued to rise through Prohibition to the point where it was

thought drinking would actually pass pre-Prohibition levels. The same was

true of alcohol related diseases while lowering, alcoholism and

alcohol-related illness climbed to new heights, all while Prohibition was still

in effect (Thornton, "Failure" 70-71). The initial ideas of Prohibition was


Crime was a problem during Prohibition. Since demand does not generally

lower or at least not greatly alcohol continued to be traded even though laws

exist to stop those kind of problems. The black market increased the crime

rate related to the making and selling of alcohol. "Prohibition creates new

profit opportunities for both criminals and non-criminals," especially for those

previously involved in criminal activities (Thornton, "Failure" 116-117).

During National Prohibition in the 1920's and early 1930's--crime rate

continued to raise as less and less people were willing to quit drinking or to

respect the ideas of prohibition, as shown by the raise in fines given for

Prohibition violations through its time. Crime quickly became "organized" for

the first time, running activities contrary to Prohibition on a never before seen

scale (Thornton, "Failure" 70). In fact, by the end of Prohibition, speakeasies

had actually outnumbered the saloons of pre-Prohibition years, spreading the

influence of alcohol over a much wider range (Thornton, "Failure" 72).

Alcohol prices rose greatly due to the troubles of making and selling a

prohibited substance especially among the working classes, to steal alcohol

or to steal other things which could then be sold to pay for alcohol.

Prohibition was first meant to stop the abuses thought to be from

alcohol, main problem was crime. As more and more people began to ignore

Prohibition, new criminal activity associated with alcohol began to start. In

response the effort to enforce the Act rose through the twenties and thirties.

Prisons filled to full and beyond most money was spent on enforcement. It's

not surprising then that crime dropped very quickly after the repeal of


While meant to limit the problems connected to the influence of alcohol

industries Prohibition also raised the number of kurupt government officials.

The rise of criminal activity in the form of organized crime, speakeasies, and

bootlegging created yet another need to bribe government officials, as the

black market still remained active and profitable (Thornton, Economics 112).

To keep the profits leaders of the illegal alcohol trade needed to keep costs

low to avoid criminal penalties. Bribes became common. Most of New York

City police officers were accepting bribes, bootlegging, drinking, or

gambling themselves, some doing all. The Anti-Saloon League itself said that

they had spent over fifty million dollars on their Prohibition efforts was

accused of using money to keep government officials in support of


Eliminating or at least controlling crime and kuruption was proven

impossible for Prohibition leaders. Not one person actually had a good plan

for stopping the flow of alcohol into the United States,it would need making

both a naval blockade of the coasts and a patrol of both borders on each side




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