Prohibition of Alcohol in the 1920©ˆs. These two major issues of their time may not
seem like they can be logically compared, but statistics for usage and a correlating
rise in crime for both eras show a strong relationship. There is also a tendency for an
outright defiance of the laws and law makers of the United States government in both
cases. Most people today think that the prohibition of the 1920©ˆs and the current war
on drugs have many contrasting points. The opposite is true. However, the points that do contrast are more opinion-based than fact oriented. The following paragraphs will attempt to clearly and effectively show a comparison and contrast between America©ˆs famous Prohibition era and the War on Drugs being waged today.
First, a general comprehension of how Prohibition came about is necessary to the
understanding of the effects it had on the general population. The anti-drinkers started to become organized around the turn of the century and formed the Anti-Saloon League. This very vocal group were fed up with the constant public drunkenness and
the fights that were caused. They spent millions of dollars between 1900 and 1919
in an attempt to try to persuade people to stop drinking. Two and a half million dollars raised in the effort to stop the drinking, came from the middle and poor classes because these were the people most affected by the problem. The Anti-Saloon League had an effect on a great many people. By 1917, a full twenty five states were
dry. This meant that there was no legal use of alcohol in those twenty five states.
On December 18th, 1917, the 18th Amendment to the United States Constitution was passed by a majority vote in the House of Representatives, but it would not go
into effect as law unless three fourths of the states ratified it within seven years. The
drinkers were happy because they thought that the 18th Amendment would never be
ratified. However, within one year and eight days, thirty six states - the three quarters
necessary - voted for the 18th Amendment outlawing the manufacture, sale, transportation, import and export of liquor. The Volstead Act was then passed to prohibit the use of intoxicating liquors.
January 17th, 1920, at exactly midnight, was when Prohibition went into effect. One
minute after the la...
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...avily involved in
supplying drugs to the United States and the rest of the world. Though alcohol during
Prohibition was sometimes purchased in a foreign country, it was rarely supplied to the United States by big business in that country. Lastly, one of the major differences between Prohibition and the current War on Drugs is in federal, state and municipal programs. During Prohibition there were no government sponsored attempts at rehabilitation. Today there are treatment facilities available to the public, as well as, a
multitude of private options. Judges encountering both first and repeat drug offenders
are often sentencing them to incarceration in a rehabilitation and treatment facility, instead of prison.
It appears that people will always break the law to indulge in their personal vices, the difference lies in how far they are willing to take their law-breaking.
Unless there are major governmental policy changes addressing the needs of the poor there will always be a market for escapism. In conclusion, tier are many parallels between the Prohibition Era and the On-going War on Drugs in America, it is their differences that will make their places in our history unique.
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