Prohibition History Film Clips
When only a few "wet" months were left before all alcohol was banned from the United States, THE NATION reviewed the 1918 "Anti-Prohibition Manual" and the "Year Book of the United States Brewers Association" (1917) and came away with this brief, but amusing and informative history of drinking.
An outraged editorial writer opines that the prohibition of alcohol will serve to corrupt the morality of more Americans than it could possibly save. Additionally, the writer alludes to the fact that, at the time, the U.S. Congress was discussing the prohibition of tobacco, as well:
"It is coming time to write the obituary of Joy. Less than a year ago
the Cheering Cup was removed from American life. Now we are told that just as soon as enough Congressmen can be intimidated, not a difficult job, the Soothing Weed is also to be extinguished."
The writer places blame more upon the apathetic American voter rather than the "grafters" in Congress.
Alderson Prison in lovely West Virginia was not simply the first Federal prison intended for women, but also the very first prison ever built on American shores to house women only; for as you might have read in this 1924 article, thousands of American women were running afoul of the law as a result of Prohibition.
During the summer of 1932, Democratic Senator Carter Glass (1858 - 1946) turned heads and dropped jaws on Capitol Hill when he introduced a piece of legislation that was intended to water-down the 18th Amendment. Glass, a devoted enemy of the swizzle stick, proposed an amendment to the Constitution that would continue to outlaw saloons nationally while permitting hootch to flow freely throughout the wet states - and cut off booze in the dry.
"Americans on December 5  will look backwards to a dramatic night 10 years ago - many will be surprised that a whole decade has passed since the nation abandoned Prohibition... In the early '30s, Congressman LaGuardia found authorities siphoning an estimated million dollars a day in graft from bootleggers. Cost of the 'Noble Experiment' to the government hovered around a billion dollars a year. In the last 14 Prohibition years, the public was figured to have spent more than $36,000,000,000 for bootlegging and smuggled liquor!"
When "The Noble Experiment" ended in 1933 the United Sates was a far less sober nation than it was thirteen years earlier. Organized crime was stronger than ever before, more Americans were in prison then ever before and more Americans than ever before had developed an unfortunate taste for narcotics. If prohibition was undertaken in order to awaken Americans to the glories of sobriety, it was the opposite that came to pass - Americans had become a people that reveled in drink. The writer who penned this column recognized that with the demise of Prohibition arose a culture that was eagerly buying up
"a flood of utensils, mechanisms, gadgets, devices and general accessories [that celebrated the] noble old art of public drinking..."
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