The Path to Ratification
Front page of newspaper
"A great social and economic experiment, noble in motive and far reaching in purpose." Those were the words of President Hoover as he praised the 18th Amendment. Since many years before, organizations had been striving to make prohibitory laws against alcohol. Groups such as the Anti-Saloon League and the Women's Christian Temperance Union had been recruiting and gaining support all over the country for national prohibitory laws. However, there was a large part of the country that didn't agree. Americans soon became either "dry" or "wet". Dry meaning you were for the prohibition; and wet meaning you were against it. Nonetheless, after many years and petitions Congress passed the Volstead Act. President Wilson did not. It defined "alcoholic" as 0.5% alcohol or above, and gave the government the legal right to enforce the law. Congress voted once more, and the Volstead Act was ratified on October of 1917. It was thanks to this document, that the 18th Amendment was passed also. The Volstead Act is what set the table for the ratification of the prohibition. Though it took a further three years to get the till the 36th State for approval, the prohibition was finally made a national law.
The Noble Experiment
The Liquor Octopus invades The World's mind
The prohibition of alcohol was called the "noble experiment" because of the reasons as to why Americans wanted it. They hoped it would help solve so many problems that were being influenced by drinking. Therefore without it, things would theoretically improve. The workforce would actually work instead of getting over a hangover from the previous night. Many men had been fired for incompetence at work. But if they didn't drink, they would work and keep their jobs. This also tied into womens' claim that without alcohol the level of domestic abuse by husbands would decrease. Many areas of crime such as gambling, prostitution, and corruption of government officials were fueled by alcohol; and the government hoped that without that bribe, crime would decline in cities. All of these reasons are what convinced the States that national prohibition of intoxicating liquors was a good idea. They were hoping for a better standard of living in their nation.