The Rise of Prohibition in America Essay

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“America had been awash in drink almost from the start – wading hip-deep in it, swimming in it, and at various times in its history nearly drowning in it.” 1 This quote proves to be correct, embodying American history beginning with the earliest American settlers to the present day. Keeping this fact in mind, how did the Temperance Movement gain enough strength to legally ban the manufacturing, selling, and transportation of alcohol in 1920? Through the determination and stamina of a multitude of factions throughout America from the early to mid 19th century, into the Progressive Era, federal legislation in the form of the Eighteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America was passed. Beginning in the mid-1800s and …show more content…
It commonly [enters] into the first draught of an infant, and the last thought of [a] dying man.”5 With this notion filling the minds of the population of the United States, a few zealous citizens realized that a change must be implemented to preserve the American society. In 1849, the Daughters of Temperance, created by Susan B. Anthony, was formed. These few enterprising women referred to alcohol as “The Unclean Thing” and began one of the many quests for Prohibition. They strove to shut down saloons or at least regulate their hours, closing on Sundays, the day of rest, in order to protect their families and their finances from the horrors of men under the influence.6 However, this proved to be a difficult endeavor because by 1875, one third of the total federal revenue was a result of the manufacturing, purchasing, and distribution of alcohol.7 The multiple Prohibition groups that had sprung up by this time did indeed recognize that their goal of “destroying the demand of the consumer” of alcohol related items would jeopardize over one thousand million dollars worth of income, without compensating those who would become indebted by their proposition. Supporters of the temperance movement then realized that their efforts must be extended beyond the realm of the church in order for them to achieve their arduous goal on a national level.8 The Women’s
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