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Prohibition History

               Prohibition History Film Clips


Congress Adresses the Problem of the Hip-Flask (Literary Digest, 1927)

It was inevitable that all attempts to regulate the consumption of alcohol would create a need for the concealed pocket-flask (essentially a canteen intended for liquor). Seven years after wine and spirits were banished from the land, the government in Washington felt pressured to discipline all those restaurateurs who failed to defenestrate their patrons who brought illicit drink into their establishments. This is an article about how an attempt was made to get restaurant owners to police their customers.

 

Prohibition Comes to Washington, D.C. (The Atlanta Georgian, 1917)

In 1917 Washington, D.C. had no mayor, no city council and no say as to the goings on in Congress - the city was lorded over by the President and a Congressional commission. It was set up that way by the founders - and that is how Prohibition came to Washington, D.C. two years earlier than the rest of the nation: with the flick of his wrist, President Wilson signed the Sheppard Bill, legislation that declared that after November 1, 1918 all alcohol would be prohibited in the District of Columbia.

 

Congress Discusses the Repeal of Prohibition (Literary Digest, 1933)

During the action-packed opening months of the F.D.R. administration, Congress addressed the option of repealing Prohibition and allowing each state to decide whether it wished to be "dry" or wet":

"Now the people can decide, after more than thirteen years of Prohibition."
"Surprising the country, the lame-duck Congress, hereto staunchly dry, reverses itself 'in a stampede toward repeal,' to permit the people to decide Prohibition's fate."

 

Bootleg Whiskey as Poisoner (Literary Digest, 1922)

A 1922 magazine article concerning the dangers of black market liquor in the United States during the Prohibition period (1919 - 1933):

"When you drink bootleg the chances are better than nine out of ten that you are drinking rank poison."

"This is not the statement issued either by Prohibitionists to discourage drinking, or by a Anti-Prohibitionist to show what Prohibition has brought us to. It is the conclusion of a large newspaper service, which had it's men in various parts of the country buy the 'ordinary mine-run of bootleg liquor', and then had the samples analyzed to get an idea of what a man's chances are of getting poisonous booze."

Click here to read about President Woodrow Wilson and his wish to re-write the post-war Prohibition restrictions.

 

Way To Go, Einstein! (Literary Digest, 1922)

An interview with Izzy Einstein (Isidor Einstein, 1880 1938): Prohibition agent and master of disguise:

"A day with Izzy would make a chameleon blush for lack of variation..."

"He prepared himself to move in high, low and medium circles - on the excellent theory that the taste for liquor and the desire to sell it are no respecters of persons - and in all those circles he has since been whirling with rapidity and a quick-change adeptness."

From Amazon: Prohibition Agent No. 1 by Izzy Einstein

 

W.W. I and the Advancement of Prohibition (Literary Digest, 1916)

Since the earliest days of World War I, the European combatant nations made some adjustments in regard to the sale of alcohol and the hours in which pubs could operate. When the U.S. entered the war in April of 1917, Congress decided that they had better do the same - but they were far more harsh on the topic - closing bars entirely and outlawing all wines and spirits - except for their use in religious sacraments. In the attached article journalist gathered data from various newspapers that were located in states that were already dry in order to study how the experiment was proceeding.

 


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