Why Prohibition Failed

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate July 2001

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Why Prohibition Failed Prohibition: Help or Harm? Prohibition damaged America Imagine this"¦ It's 12:30 am in a dark New York City street during the 1920s. Everything is silent. Then a man walks around to the back of an old saloon, closed due to Prohibition. He knocks three times on the back door then mutters the words " Joe sent me". The door opens to the sound of ragtime music and people singing. The door shuts and it is silent again"¦ That was an example of just on of the 100,000 "speak-easies" that was open in New York City at the time.

"Speak-easies" were basically back door bars. Speak-easies were opened because the Volstead Act made the distribution of any intoxicating drink illegal. By 1925 (only about 5 years after Prohibition began) there were over 100,000 speak-easies opened in New York City alone. One of many speak-easies still stands. Today it is called the "21 Club".

Which is located 21 West 52nd Street. Where they will give a tour of the old speak-easy which is still intact.

One reason why so many Speak-easies were allowed opened was because of the lack of enforcement. There were not enough federal agents or police to prevent liquor from entering the country. With only 1,550 federal agents and the east coastline and the Canadian-American borderline it's no wonder that they managed to impound 5% of smuggled liquor. Also the illegal liquor business came to the control of the mob, which overpowered most police. Not only that but also most bootleggers (people who made their own liquor) bribed federal agents, police, or anyone else who was trying to enforce the Prohibition law.

You see most Prohibitionists hoped that Prohibition would decrease drunken ness and the crime rate. Well at first the crime rate did have a...