My research paper is on the 21st amendment. The 21st amendment is the repeal of the 18th amendment. So what is the 18th amendment? In the early 19th century, Protestants including Methodists, Baptists, and Presbyterians took part in revivals to convert new followers to Christ to overcome corruption in the world. In their eyes, drinking was part of that corruption. They became advocates for temperance. At this time, temperance advocates were not calling for legal prohibition of alcohol, but rather asking citizens to choose to abstain from its use.
Temperance organizations started to realize that, for temperance to become mainstream, the moral argument against liquor would not be enough. As the Progressive Era began around the turn of the twentieth century, the advocates of temperance supported their religious beliefs with various scientific reasons. Studies found that alcohol limited motor reaction, caused issues with the nerve centers controlling the heart, interfered with digestion, and worsened diseases. Organizations like the Women’s Christian Temperance Union used the new scientific studies to their benefit.
They advocated compulsory instruction about temperance in public schools and wrote textbooks on the subject.The amendment was ratified January 16, 1919. But it still didn’t take action until January 16, 1920. This amendment outlawed the making, selling, transporting, importing, or exporting of alcoholic beverages in the United States.
During this time widespread crime and dismay arose. Some beneficial things did come out of this period of chaos such as women were able to prove themselves as people their temperance movements. During this time many things happened that led to Prohibition’s strongest point and to its fall. Prohibition proved to be a failure from the start. But out of this women had a chance to voice their opinions and prove themselves. Temperance movements were vital keys to the ratification of the eighteenth amendment. Temperance at first meant abstaining from distilled liquors, but later would be the complete avoidance of alcohol.
Both men and women would participate in temperance across the United States. Women finally had a voice in these issues. Women temperance movements would include gathering around saloons, pharmacies, and other places that distributed alcohol that could be consumed. In these gatherings women would sing prayers, recite psalms, and persuade people to avoid drinking alcohol. The 18th Amendment did not ban the consumption of alcohol, only its manufacture, sale, and transport. Many began hoarding alcoholic beverages during the year between ratification and the time that Prohibition went into effect. Under the law, individuals were still allowed to make wine and alcoholic cider for home use, but moonshine could be deadly if made incorrectly.
Smugglers brought liquor into the United States at port cities around the country. The Great Depression struck a major blow to the nation’s economy, and the tide had begun to turn against Prohibition. Some lawmakers believed that a tax on alcohol could help increase federal revenue to aid the struggling country. Citizens were concerned about the upsurge in crime and violence. Franklin Roosevelt reversed his position and came out against Prohibition during the 1932 presidential campaign. Two groups led the effort for repeal: the Association Against the Prohibition Amendment and the Women’s Organization for National Prohibition Reform.
In 1933, Congress passed and President Franklin Roosevelt signed an amendment to the Volstead Act, legalizing the sale of light beers and wine below a new, higher limit for “intoxicating” beverages. Congress approved the 21st Amendment on February 20, 1933, and it was ratified by state conventions throughout the year. On December 5, 1933, the United States ratified the 21st Amendment, repealing the 18th Amendment. This was the first time in American history a constitutional amendment had been repealed. The 21st Amendment affirmed the power of states to make laws concerning the sale and transport of alcohol.
Many states began tightly controlling liquor usage through licensing requirements, drinking age limits, and specific hours of operation for liquor sellers. Many of these regulations are still in force today. .