The National Prohibition Act or Volstead Act was passed to carry out the intent of the Eighteenth Amendment by defining the process for banning the consumption and sales of alcohol and also their production and distribution The Volstead Act named in honor of Andrew John Volstead who helped author the bill initially was surrounded by controversy and prior to it becoming law President Woodrow Wilson vetoed the Volstead Act opposing a federal law that prohibited alcohol claiming that alcohol consumption was a moral issue Another issue that developed with the passing of the Eighteenth Amendment involved the court case Hawke vs Smith a Supreme Court case that originated in Ohio which questioned the validity in the way in which the Amendment was passed Ohio voters were given 90 days to sign a petition challenging the Amendment s ratification by Ohio legislation but the Amendment was put into effect prior to the 90 day waiting period s conclusion Initially the passing of the Eighteenth Amendment had some positive effects such as a decrease in alcohol consumption reduction in alcohol related illnesses and a decrease in alcohol related crimes Described by President Herbert Hoover as a great social and economic experiment noble in motive and far reaching in purpose the positives were soon overshadowed by the negatives and soon prohibition fell victim to many unforeseen consequences
The Eighteenth Amendment was soon discovered to have many exploitable loopholes While expressly banning the manufacture sale or transportation of intoxicating liquors alcohol was still allowed for medicinal religious and industrial purposes This undoubtedly led to it being exploited and abused in these settings People also began making more homemade liquor which ultimately led to more alcohol poisoning and abuse Supporters of the Eighteenth Amendment initially thought the economy would be stimulated as people would no longer be able to purchase alcohol and would instead buy more goods education and insurance but this proved to be the opposite as people were instead finding goods with alcohol and spending their money instead on that Most infamously associated with Prohibition is the rise of bootleggers and the subsequent rise in organized crime that followed Bootlegging is defined as the illegal manufacturing and sale of alcohol Prohibition provided a very profitable avenue for criminal outfits looking to increase their wealth
Gangs soon became influential criminal enterprises who reaped the monetary benefits bootlegging provided and soon they were able to bribe police officers and sway politicians to expand their businesses Prohibition quickly opened the gateway to an increase in violent crime gambling prostitution and an overall degradation of American society quite the opposite of its intended purpose Speakeasies illegal bars and nightclubs began popping up and being protected by corrupt policeman bribed by criminals Soon people were beginning to blame Prohibition for the increasingly negative effect it was having on American lives Ultimately the Eighteenth Amendment was repealed with the passing of the Twenty First Amendment being the one Amendment in American History to be repealed in its entirety By the late 1920s the public became displeased with prohibition and the onset of the Great Depression only sped up its repeal Americans felt that manufacturing and selling alcohol could help stimulate the economy and reduce the oncoming depression The Eighteenth Amendment was eventually considered unpopular and a failure and Prohibition was ended in 1933
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