Essay by nyfoleyHigh School, 11th gradeA+, May 2005

download word file, 3 pages 5.0

Hell On Earth

Prohibition in the early part of the century seemed like a great idea for the country. People across the country believed prohibition would reduce crime and corruption, solve social problems, reduce the tax burden created by prisons and poorhouses, and improve health and hygiene in America. In reality though, it only intensified alcohol problems and was a complete failure. Increased law enforcement and the increase in alcohol related crime cost the country millions. Alcohol was still abundant in the U.S. after it was made illegal and crime only rose.

President Herbert Hoover looked back on prohibition and called it an "experiment noble in purpose". Clergy and women of the time agreed completely. Prohibition started in 1920 with the 18th amendment to the Constitution. The 18th amendment prohibited the transportation, sale, and manufacturing of alcohol. Congress then passed the Volstead Act to help enforce the amendment by making it illegal to consume any beverage containing over 0.5

percent alcohol by volume. Typically a beer, which is low in alcohol, contains between three to seven percent alcohol by volume. This act also set up guidelines for enforcement. People of the time thought the amendment would solve all the problems of the country. In fact, the new amendment and Volstead act had the exact opposite effect and not only hurt the alcoholics but also hurt the country

Although consumption of alcohol fell at the beginning of Prohibition, it gradually rose every year following 1921.

Source: Clark Warburton, The Economic Results of Prohibition. With the rise of drinking during prohibition came more dangerous alcohol. People began making illegal liquor in bathtubs. Not only was this bathtub gin much less sanitary, but it also contained all sorts of different chemicals that were added to the liquor by these home brewers. Moonshiners also...