Prohibition and the American People Essay

Decent Essays

Prohibition and the American People

Abraham Lincoln, arguably the greatest president in American history, is believed to have said, “Prohibition will work great injury to the cause of temperance. It is a species of intemperance within itself, for it goes beyond the bounds of reason in that it attempts to control a man’s appetite by legislation, and makes a crime out of things that are not crimes. A prohibition law strikes a blow at the very principles upon which our government was founded.” The temperance movement put pressure on government officials to make changes in the U.S., one of these changes was put into play by the 18th amendment. This amendment banned the making, sale, and transportation of alcohol illegal, but not …show more content…

It was very simple to go out and get the necessary products to make alcohol. According to Erica Hanson (1999), “For those Americans who did not want to go to the effort of making their own liquor, an army of bootleggers, moonshiners, and rum runners were available to supply the nation with all the booze its citizens could drink” (p.29). In case neither of those options worked, a person could walk down the road to find a speakeasy to drink and break the law. Law enforcement was poorly organized to deal with the law breaking and crime. The Prohibition Bureau funds were nowhere near what they needed to be so there were not enough people hired to stop the many illegal operations. Many officials could be bought to keep their mouth shut and look the other way. The number of officers that actually busted law breakers was minimal. Law enforcement, on average, only took 5 percent of smuggled alcohol a year and one in twelve prohibition agents were fired for accepting a bribe. All in all, prohibition caused many problems for the U.S. to the point that we couldn’t handle the situation at hand.
The opposing side of the argument on prohibition was very powerful and a force that wanted to keep the U.S. from falling into a hole they could not get out of. The “dry’s” or those for prohibition thought that prohibition would promote moral improvement and allow the U.S. to strive for perfection. To improve the morals of all, they believed

Get Access