The bottom line: the struggle for sobriety almost turned to US disaster
One hundred years ago, was enacted one of the most odious laws in the history of the United States.
The prohibition of alcohol is as old as the subject itself, provoking her. As soon as people learned how to create heady drinks, began to be those who used them, which led to tragic consequences. “Wine is from God, drunkenness from the devil”, as he said in the Middle ages. Of course, there were rulers who sought to limit universal joy. Usually this did not really happen. And, perhaps, the most striking and typical example of what the fight against the evil one can lead to the birth of evil much more was revealed to the world a century ago in the United States. January 16, 1919, after ratification by the required majority of States entered into force of the eighteenth amendment to the Constitution of the country — the day of the anniversary of prohibition (as it is traditionally known in Russia), “Izvestia” remember his story.On the path to sobriety
America suddenly came to the dry law — the first requirements of the ban on the alcohol trade began to be heard immediately after the war for independence. The British crown the fight for the health and the morals of the settlers were not very interested in, the Treasury also received from the alcohol trade profit. But after the expulsion of the British votes for the ban of alcohol abuse sounded louder. More all zealous of the radical Protestants — Methodists, Presbyterians, Baptists, Quakers. And in the second half of the nineteenth century, the influence of these communities has become of the moral sphere to move into the political arena. So, in 1869, was established the Party of prohibition (The Prohibition Party), had some pretty serious influence. It was the oldest and at that time the most powerful of the “third parties” to be considered which had both Democrats and Republicans.
Gradually an increasingly important role began to play like a public organization founded in 1826 the American temperance societies, Women’s Christian Union or Antisaloon League of America. In some States, mostly in the South, where the advocates of temperance were able to come to power, were introduced severe restrictions on the use of alcohol. So, by 1914, 15 States have already been declared “dry” production and trade in alcohol were prohibited.
World war and the admission of the United States tossed the supporters of universal sobriety new trumps. Now it was about that struggling country needed bread for the army and help the allies and to transfer grain for the manufacture of alcohol. Anyone who opposes prohibition could be accused of lack of Patriotic feelings that in time of war is fraught with serious problems. Played another factor, is rather unexpected: so historically, a significant part of the Breweries and distilleries in the United States kept people from Germany, which has now turned into an enemy. Of course, almost all the owners of the alcohol companies have long been citizens and, I guess, patriots of America, but nobody cared.
In 1917 for 36 of the 48 States had enacted article about limiting the sale of alcohol. Somewhere it was banned completely in some parts. It is clear that in such circumstances the proposal to introduce a General prohibition was a matter of time. And it’s arrived.Constitutional majority
But for the introduction of temperance throughout the United States needed a decision at the Federal level by amending the Constitution. August 1, 1917, the eighteenth amendment passed the Senate: 65 members spoke in favor, and 20 against. Interestingly, the vote was not the party for prohibition were 36 voting representatives of the Democratic party and 29 Republicans. Against, respectively, were made by 12 Democrats and eight Republicans. In the house of representatives approved the amendment on December 17, 1917, the situation was similar: among Democrats — 141 in favour and 64 against, while among Republicans — 137 in favour and 62 against. Four independent parliamentarians voted for the adoption of the amendment, two against. The next day, December 18, 1917, the Senate by a vote of 47 against eight adopted a resolution transmitting the amendment for ratification by individual States.
January 16, 1919 the eighteenth amendment was ratified by the representatives of the majority of States. The law of Volsted (by name made it to the consideration of Congressman Republican from Minnesota Andrew Volstead), adopted in the autumn of the same year, established new rules for the production and turnover of ethyl alcohol. The amendment came into effect partially within six months, fully a year with zero hours on 17 January 1920. It was stipulated in the text, so that people, especially the owners of the alcohol business, had time to prepare for the impending change.
In accordance with the new law, the state banned industrial production, transport and trade (including export and import) of any alcoholic beverages strength above 2.75 degrees.
However, the private possession and use of alcohol by law not forbidden, in any case, there are no sanctions for this was not provided.
In the last days before the entry into force near the wine shops lined up in long lines, trade was conducted under the slogan:
Last Call (last order made before the close of the bar): you don’t have much time and we have reserves. Hurry up, or you’ll be left with nothing.If impossible, but very desirable
It quickly became clear that the law does not work because is too many are willing to work around it. Only the war ended, veterans returned home, the economy was on the rise. The Americans wanted joy and fun.