The End of Prohibition
Eighty years ago today, Prohibition ended in the United States, lifting the national ban of alcohol throughout the nation. Between 1920 – 1933, the production, sale and transportation of alcoholic beverages was prohibited across the country. Although the motivation to pass the 18th Amendment to the U.S. constitution was to curb the adverse effects of drinking on society, the Prohibition had the unintended consequence of stimulating a rampant underground of organized and widespread criminal activity. The era gave rise to powerful gangs led by ruthless criminals such as the infamous Al Capone. Thirsty citizens gathered in underground speakeasies or illegally brewed their own “hooch” at home.
By the early 1930s, with the country fed up with the loss of personal liberties and the proliferation of organized crime, Prohibition began to lose much of its support. On December 5, 1933, the 21st Amendment was ratified, repealing the 18th Amendment and making the distribution and purchase of alcoholic beverages legal once again.
What were your ancestors up to during the Prohibition?
Check out these historic images during this “noble experiment” in American history:
New York City Deputy Police Commissioner watching agents pour liquor into sewer following a raid, c.1921
Dismantling a still in San Francisco c.1920s
A woman pours alcohol into a cup from a cane, 1922
Whiskey still, c.1920-1930
Showing off the latest trend: garter flasks, 1926
A “Hooch hound” in action, 1922
The end of Prohibition, Ironwood Daily Globe Dec. 5, 1933
Crowds celebrate the end of the Prohibition era, Dec. 5, 1933