The eighteenth amendment was passed in January of 1920 by the Congress and it was a starting point of new era known as Prohibition era. The eighteenth amendment was about regulation of sale, transport, import and manufacture of liquor. Almost any type of intoxicating alcohols become illegal product in America after the eighteenth amendment. Although, President Wilson who was a president of United States during 1920s vetoed but the Congress was dominated by Republican Party. Then eventually the eighteenth amendment was passed. Volstead Act was introduced by Andrew Volstead who was a member of House of Representatives.
Peter Kizilos is a historian who wrote about Volstead Act in American History. According to Kizilos, Volstead was raised in Norwegian Lutheran family and he believed that alcohol is a curse. This showed Volstead’s motive and what led him to enforce Prohibition law. Volstead Act played significant role during Prohibition era. Just like the eighteenth amendment, Volstead Act was about illegalizing of sale, transport, import and manufacture of liquor of almost all kind. . Also, Volstead allowed law enforcement to padlock selling alcohols that contains more than 0. 05 percent alcohol.
Only medical usage of alcohol was legal under Volstead Act In contrast, people didn’t take Prohibition as positive change. Although Prohibition got some support from groups like Christians who are against alcohol. For example, Herald of Gospel Liberty published an article that was titled, “A Saloonless Nation In 1920. ” It was published in 1914. This article is about a Christian group that is supporting of the eighteenth amendment. This article contains that Christians were actually supporting illegalizing of alcohol and saloon. Also, the article of Herald of Gospel Liberty showed what kind of view Christians had on alcohol.
In the article, “Alcohol as used in various form of beverages, is scientifically proven to be physically injurious to millions of people. ” This passage showed what kind of view that Christians had towards alcohol. Also, Christians believed that alcohol is the main reason for crimes in America and they think alcohol is unnecessary beverage that only brings nothing good but troubles. Also, it said, “This traffic is promoted by such great power and capital that the nation for self-preservation should participate in this reform. ” This means Christians believed the eighteenth Amendment as a reform that was necessary for good cause.
In addition, another group that supported Prohibition was feminists group. Voting right for women enforced in 1920s. This means that women had more chance to participate in politics and express their opinions as well. Elizabeth Burt’s article from Journalism History contains history of women’s movement of supporting Prohibition. According to Burt, “The Women’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU), established in 1874, supported woman suffrage on the grounds that it would allow women to vote for temperance.
The AntiSaloon League (ASL), established in 1895, promoted prohibition and also believed voting women would support the control of alcohol. This showed women in 1920s believed that Prohibition is necessary law to control alcohols. Also, women supported Prohibition because it was one way to solid their right to express their opinion to the Congress. Burt explains, “Nationally and locally, the progress of the prohibition movement often paralleled that of the suffrage movement, and, in fact, the eighteenth amendment, which brought national prohibition, was passed by Congress in 1918, just a year before the suffrage amendment. 19. ” Suffrage movement and Prohibition movement were considered parallel to women and they fought for their right by also supporting of Prohibition.
However, there was significant number of groups who were against the eighteenth amendment. One of the groups that opposed Prohibition was Germans immigrants in America. Most of their business was liquor stores and alcohol manufacturing. Burt also mentioned about how German-Americans in Wisconsin how they reacted to Prohibition. Burt reports, “Prohibition was staunchly opposed by German-Americans and the powerful brewing industry in Wisconsin, which effectively blocked local option laws as well as state prohibition for years.
This passage contains information of brewing industry faced huge impact when Prohibition enforced in America. Also, German-Americans’ primary source of income was brewing industry in 1920s. In Wisconsin, brewing industry was fifth biggest business so they were well-organized and financially stable and they led antiProhibition movement as well. Wisconsin was not the only state that was opposing of Prohibition. Boston Daily Globe published article titled, “Sees Reaction on Prohibition. ” This article focuses on how Prohibition was a failed experiment.
Dr. Hugh Grey’s research explains what kind of affect that Prohibition brought. Then Grey summarized his research that Prohibition didn’t helped decreasing of alcohol addiction. Basically, people didn’t believe Prohibition didn’t contribute anything good but only brought negative impact on people. Prohibition was the turning point for organized crimes in America. Alcohol was legal product until Volstead Act and alcohol became huge money maker for gangs in 1920s. Demand for alcohol was still high but smuggling was the only ways to get alcohol.
Washington Post that was published in 1920s explained well about the situation and how much crime rate was increased during Prohibition. Washington Post stated, “Almost hopeless situation in Chicago. ” Also, “Prohibition was blamed as the font from which murder, bribery and gang war. ” It means that people in 1920s believed that gang violence was started because of Prohibition and it increased rapidly as well. Also, gangsters were so powerful to the point; they didn’t even bother to hide from law enforcement. Smuggling alcohol was also known as bootlegging.
Bootlegging was come from smugglers during 1920s that hid liquor bottles in their boots in order to smuggle alcohol safely. Gangsters in 1920s made their fortune and gained power by smuggling alcohol. Since Canada was not following Prohibition law like America, gangsters of Chicago got their business opportunity by smuggling liquors from Canada. Basically, Prohibition turned alcohol into high risk profitable product, so it made gangsters to enter smuggling business in order to expand their territory and power. Especially, Chicago was one of the major cities that suffered from organized crimes.
Brutality of gang violence increased in 1920s and a lot of murder cases occurred in Chicago. One case was from Chicago Daily Tribune that was about execution of liquor dealer by gangster. According to Chicago Daily Tribune, first victim was Eugene D’Alessandro who was an illegal liquor dealer. This showed that illegalization of alcohol brought conflict among criminals in order to avoid competition in their business. Al Capone was considered as the most powerful figure in organized crime world during the Prohibition era. He was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1899.
He got his power in crime world by illegal brewing, distilling and distribution of beer and liquor in Chicago. It was considered as growing business opportunity during Prohibition era. FBI reports, “Capone had built a fearsome reputation in the ruthless gang rivalries of the period, struggling to acquire and retain “racketeering rights” to several areas of Chicago. That reputation grew as rival gangs were eliminated or nullified, and the suburb of Cicero became, in effect, a fiefdom of the Capone mob. ” Also, he became a symbol of violent era of Prohibition when he committed Saint Valentine Massacre in 1929. The St.
Valentine’s Day Massacre on February 14, 1929, might be regarded as the culminating violence of the Chicago gang era, as seven members or associates of the “Bugs” Moran mob were machinegunned against a garage wall by rivals posing as police. Crime like Saint Valentine Massacre was possible because jurisdiction of Bureau of Investigation was limited in Prohibition era. According to FBI, “The investigative jurisdiction of the Bureau of Investigation during the 1920s and early 1930s was more limited than it is now, and the gang warfare and depredations of the period were not within the Bureau’s investigative authority.
AL Capone’s reign of crime ended in 1939. Capone represented what kind of hole that Prohibition law had. When Al Capone was convicted by federal government, he was charged for tax evasion. According to New York Times that was published in 192, Al Capone was plead guilty of three Federal indictments and two were relate to tax evasion. This showed that if Capone didn’t committed tax evasion, he might got away from his other crimes that he committed that was related to Prohibition law.