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Things To Remember While Reading Excerpts From The Eighteenth Amendment—prohibition Of Intoxicating Liquors:, Excerpt From The Eighteenth Amendment—prohibition Of Intoxicating Liquors

Excerpt from the Eighteenth Amendment—Prohibition of Intoxicating Liquors

Adopted on January 29, 1919

Reprinted from the Findlaw Web site at http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/data/constitution/amendments18/

Alcohol is the most frequently used drug in the United States. Rum was often present in community gatherings in the early colonial settlements. Concern began to rise over those who drank too much. Laws were passed focusing on alcohol abuse and its disruptive effects on small communities. A call for a ban on alcohol grew throughout the nineteenth century among social workers, clergy, and others part of what were called temperance movements.

By the 1870s organizations such as the Women's Christian Temperance Union crusaded around the nation promoting the prohibition of alcohol. Another key national group, the Anti-Saloon League, joined the fight for prohibition in the 1890s.

Passage of the Eighteenth Amendment to the Constitution banning the manufacture, sale, and transportation of alcoholic beverages came in January 1919. To put the amendment into effect, Congress passed the Volstead Act in October 1919. The act expanded the prohibition to include beer and wine as well as hard liquor and criminalized its possession.

"The manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors . . . for beverage purposes is hereby prohibited."

An Anti-Saloon League poster from the 1910s making the case for Prohibition. This poster questions if the benefits of alcohol tax revenues are really worth the social costs. (The Library of Congress)

For More Information


Behr, Edward. Prohibition: Thirteen Years That Changed America. New York: Arcade Publishing, 1996.

Kobler, John. Capone: The Life and World of Al Capone. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1971.

Kyvig, David E. Repealing National Prohibition. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1979.

Pegram, Thomas R. Battling Demon Rum: The Struggle for a Dry America, 1800–1933. Chicago, IL: Ivan R. Dee, 1998.

Rose, Kenneth D. American Women and the Repeal of Prohibition. New York: New York University Press, 1996.

Web Sites

Court TV's Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods. http://www.crime library.com (accessed on August 19, 2004).

"Temperance and Prohibition." Ohio State University Department of History. http://prohibition.history.ohio-state.edu (accessed on August 19, 2004).

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationCrime and Criminal Law