How Long Did Prohibition Last ?
In the US, prohibition lasted from the year 1920 until the year 1933. The ban on manufacture, sale as well as transportation of alcohol was stipulated under the 18th Amend of the US Constitution. This amendment was proposed on 18th December 1917, but was only ratified on 16th January 1919 after it was approved by thirty-six states. And, the amendment came into effect from 17th January 1920. It is important to note that some states in the US had already had prohibition prevalent before the 18th Amendment.
Before the 18th Amendment was ratified, the Congress had passed the so-called Wartime Prohibition Act on 18th November 1918. This act banned the sale of alcohol that had alcohol content more than 2.75 percent. It was in an effort to save the grain for soldiers fighting in the First World War. Ironically, the Wartime Prohibition Act was signed into law after the Armistice was penned on 11th November 1918 and it came into effect on 30th June 1919.
With the signing of the 18th Amendment, the Volstead Act came into being and this act was passed by the US Congress on 28th October 1919 even though the then president, Woodrow Wilson vetoed the act. The act laid down the legal of definition of alcoholic beverages and the penalties for producing these beverages. While the Act was passed, the federal government did not have the necessary resources to enforce it, and hence, not much was done about it. This, as a result, gave rise to thousands of speakeasies across the country and also smuggling of alcohol from Canada and other countries became rampant.
As the country grew disillusioned by the prohibition, the government lost a lot of revenue by not being able to collect taxes. This had a drastic effect economy of the country which went from bad to worse during the Great Depression. Finally, realizing that the prohibition was not serving its purpose, President Franklin Roosevelt signed a law, which was an amendment to the Volstead Act on 22nd March 1933. This act was called the Cullen Harrison Act and it allowed the manufacture as well as sale of alcohol. Finally, on 5th December 1933, the 18th Amendment was repealed with the ratification of the 21st Amendment, and this put an end to prohibition in the US.
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