Life For the Average American During Prohibition

Life For the Average American During Prohibition

Any project that describes a topic involving the humanities must talk about humans. Therefore, what better way to accomplish that goal, than to talk about what life was like for a person whose life was affected by Prohibition?
Of course, when Prohibition was enacted, all Americans stopped drinking. Right? Well, Sort of. It became fun to sneak alcohol, so just like Organized Crime; many Americans were now partaking in illegal alcohol. Clara Due explains life during prohibition for her, and gives this take on Prohibition.


Question: "So, it was a 'noble experiment' that didn't work."

Clara Due: "Well, no, it didn't work. It was terrible. It just made it all the more exciting for the young kids. They all had to do something like that. They probably wouldn't have bothered with it if it wasn't illegal. But, you know, it really made it exciting to do something you're not supposed to."

See Clara's Interview


Mildred Opitz said, ""We had our booze. You know, going down here to the auditorium, you couldn't go in there and buy a drink or anything. So, we'd always take it with us. And then we'd go back to the car and spike it with 7-Up or something like that, or Squirt, whatever. Anyway, we'd always take our little bit of bourbon with us."

See Mildred's Interview


Prohibitionists had a lot of plans for Americans during prohibition. "Prohibitionists wanted and expected people to switch their spending from alcohol to dairy products, modern appliances, life insurance, savings, and education. That simply did not happen. Not only did spending on alcohol increase, so did spending on substitutes for alcohol. In addition to patent medicines, consumers switched to narcotics, hashish, tobacco and marijuana. Those products were potentially more dangerous and addictive than alcohol, and procuring them often brought users into contact with a more dangerous criminal alcohol."

The average American probably did not have a favorable view of prohibition. Although their goals seemed great, the statistics do not show that many Americans were interested in keeping prohibition. In 1925, five years after Prohibition began, the Average American, over the age of 14 was drinking 32.2 gallons of alcohol a year!

Prohibition seemed to be changing the whole family. Before prohibition, most men drank in saloons. After Prohibition, they began drinking in the home, which exposed the family to the "evils" of alcohol even more so than before. The following poem from prohibition reveals family life for some families during the time:

Mother's in the kitchen
Washing out the jugs;
Sister's in the pantry
Bottling the suds;
Father's in the cellar
Mixing up the hops;
Johnny's on the front porch
Watching for the cops

 

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