Tag Archives: Prohibition
by Steven Doyle
In 1919 the 18th amendment was ratified into the Constitution of the United States. In the following years the government would spend $310 million enforcing Prohibition, and lose $11 billion in tax revenue.
Herbert Hoover would say, “Our country has deliberately undertaken a great social and economic experiment, noble in motive and far-reaching in purpose.” That noble experiment would eventually fail, creating more crime and poverty than it had originally set out to eradicate.
H.L Mencken said, “Five years of Prohibition have had, at least, this one benign effect: they have completely disposed of all the favorite arguments of the Prohibitionists. None of the great boons and usufructs that were to follow the passage of the Eighteenth Amendment has come to pass. There is not less drunkenness in the Republic, but more. There is not less crime, but more. There is not less insanity, but more. The cost of government is not smaller, but vastly greater. Respect for law has not increased, but diminished.”
To celebrate the 83rd anniversary of the 21st amendment ratification, Victor Tangos is hosting its annual “Repeal Day” party on Monday, December 5.
For those inclined to knock a few back in honor of our constitutional rights, the night will feature cocktails under a buck. From 5 to 7pm (or until the booze runs out) Victor Tangos will feature 83-cent classic cocktails. And if the prices don’t take you back to 1933, the selection of Prohibition-era cocktails will.
Finally, Bid D got an Alamo Drafthouse, now I would have my chance to go to the theater. Calling Alamo Drafthouse a theater is kind of like calling the mall a clothing store. Alamo has an impressive list of local beers and a pretty decent whiskey list.
Besides awesome drinks and a wide food menu, Alamo hosts special events often. On December 5th, they hosted a Prohibition celebration and I decided to go. There was 1933’s music playing when you entered the lobby of the theater and they were showing Lawless. Matt Bondurant was there to talk about his book, Wettest County in the World and his family in which Lawless was based off of.
With a charge led by one Wayne B. Wheeler and Andrew Volstead, Americans met with the Great Experiment of Temperance, or the National Prohibition Act (the 18th Amendment) at midnight on January 17, 1920. Although the bill was vetoed by then president Woodrow Wilson, it was overwhelmingly passed both in House and Senate. This Amendment prohibited the manufacturing, sale and consumption of alcohol. Within minutes of the enactment of Prohibition, the first crime erupted when $100,000 worth of whiskey was stolen from a train in Chicago. Prohibition then gave birth to a new industry gripped by grizzly mobsters and bootleggers. Average citizens were lured by the siren song of the speakeasy.
Prohibition called for trials for anyone charged with an alcohol-related offense, and juries often failed to convict. Under the state of New York’s Mullan-Gage Act, a short-lived local version of the Volstead Act, the first 4,000 arrests led to just six convictions and not one jail sentence. Prohibition was deemed a failure and was dismantled by the Twenty-first Amendment which was ratified on December 5, 1933. Continue reading
by Steven Doyle
October 28, 1919 a bill was introduced and vetoed the same day by president Woodrow Wilson. The Volstead Act would criminalize intoxicating beverages containing over .05% alcohol. Not content with the veto the House and Senate over-rode the veto and the Prohibition Era was born.
The Volstead Act gave birth to speakeasies, bath tub gin and gangland violence in what would be recorded as one of the worst social experiments of our time. On December 5, 1933, Utah became the 36th state to ratify the Twenty-first Amendment, which repealed the Eighteenth Amendment, rendered the Volstead Act unconstitutional, and restored control of alcohol to the states. Continue reading