Today is one of those dark days in American history.
On this day, Jan 29 1919, the 18th Amendment was enacted.
Through groups such the Prohibition Policy and the Women’s Christian Temperance Union (to name a few), and posters such as the one below, several states began going “dry” leading up to the 65th Congress of 1917. It was there that the dries outnumbered the wets by 140 to 64 in the Democratic party and 138 to 62 among Republicans, paving the way for an amendment to be ratified by 36 of the 48 states.
So began 14 years of misery, corruption and crime that (IMO) mar the historical landscape of the United States as much as other travesties.
In fact, many of our social problems have been attributed to the Prohibition era.
Mafia groups originally limited their activities to gambling and theft until the “Roaring 20’s”, when organized bootlegging manifested in response to the effect of Prohibition.
A profitable, often violent, black market for alcohol flourished. Powerful gangs corrupted law enforcement agencies, leading to racketeering. Stronger liquor surged in popularity because its potency made it more profitable to smuggle.
This also brought about what we now today know as NASCAR in the late 30’s, when out of work “Moonshine Runners” migrated to the Daytona Beach.
It further had an impact on breweries, when only 1/2 of the pre-Prohibition Breweries reopened upon ratification of the 21st Amendment.
When will the government learn you cannot invade so deeply into people private lives and try to enforce their values and morals upon them?
It continues today with the “War on Drugs”, a monumental failure that encourages crime, abuse, corruption and strain on federal/state coffers. Sound familiar?
So, tonight and lift a pint for the poor souls who had to live through this hell. Luckily, it was repealed and we could go back to being the drunkards we are.
PS – as a side note. I did learn that Laphroig was one of the few scotches that was allowed to be imported. Due to it’s high peat content, it was thought unpalatable and was prescribed for medicinal purposes.