The End of Prohibition: What Happened and
What Have We Learned?
Prohibition came to a screeching halt in 1933. The Nation was ready to move on and with great force. It had realized that the "Great Experiment" was not so great, and that a mistake had been made. I was surprised when I discovered something about Franklin Roosevelt's first campaign for President in 1932. Part of Roosevelt's campaign promises was to repeal prohibition. The Democrats took up this cause during the 1932 election and many won seats in the Federal, State, and Local Governments.
There are almost no resources available describing prohibition as successful, and I think information such as the following tell us why.
Per Capita Consumption of Alcoholic Beverages (Gallons of Pure Alcohol) 1910-1929.
The graph from above looks encouraging in the beginning. As states began to pass Prohibition laws individually, the number of gallons of Alcohol were declining, with a great decline after Prohibition was enacted. However, soon after, the gallons of alcohol being consumed doubled and began to increase. This shows just how unenforcable Prohibition became.
Total Expenditure on Distilled Spirts as a Percentage of Total Alcohol Sales (1890-1960)
If the first graph made Prohibition look bad, this graph does the same except 1,000 times worse! The graph shows the beginning of Prohibtion as well as when it was repealed. The immediate upshoot after Prohibition was enacted shows just how much people "protested" prohibition. The percentage went from 40% all the way up to 90%! It does look good that the percentage decreases throughout Prohibition, it is interesting to note that the final great decrease happens after Prohibition is ended.
Inmates at Sing Sing Prison: 1917-22:
"Instead of emptying the prisons as its supporters had hoped it would, Prohibition quickly filled the prisons to capacity. Those convicted of additional crimes with victims (burglaries, robberies, and murders), which were due to Prohibition and the black market, were incarcerated largely in city and county jails and state prisons. 'The Sing Sing prison deported no less than sixty prisoners to Auburn in May 1922 because of overcrowding.' The graph shows the tremendous increase in the prison population at Sing Sing in the early years of Prohibition."
Like the other graphs, this one seems to tell the same story. In the early years as individual states began to create Prohibition laws, we see the rates rise. However, once Prohibiton becomes nationalized, the rates begin rising and reached its peak in 1933. When Prohibition was repealed in 1933, we see the rates drop dramatically.
Many people like to say that we should learn history so that it does not repeat itself. However, some people argue that the United States' position on Marijuana is still like the Prohibition of Alcohol.
In an earlier page, I discussed the beginning of the Prohibition Party, that was founded in 1869 to bring Prohibition to the United States. Believe it or not, the Prohibition Party is still active and has a candidate in most of the Presidential Elections! Today, the Prohibition Party still believes in the Prohibition of Alcohol, however they have taken other stands that would most likely allign them with the very very very far conservative right. Some of their modern day believes include:
- For Right to Life
- Against Commercial Gambling
- Against the Homosexual Agenda
- Against Commercial Pornography
- For the Right to Prayer and Bible Reading in the Public Schools
- Against Commercial Sale of Alcohol and Other Harmful Drugs
This information comes directly off the Party's Website and I find it interesting where the place the Prohibition of Alcohol and other Drugs on the list
A campaign button for the Prohibition Party's 2004 Presidential and Vice Presidential Candidates
Visit the Prohibition Party's Website