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The National Prohibition Act, or the Volstead Act, was a federal law enforcing the prohibition of liquor and was passed in October 1919. The law banned the production, transportation, importation, and selling of liquor through the ratification of the Eighteenth Amendment and the enforcement of the Volstead Act. The ratification took effect a year later. This began a period in American history called Prohibition.
See the fact file below for more information on the Prohibition or alternatively, you can download our 20-page Prohibition worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
CAUSES AND AIMS
- Movements emerged in the United States a century before the 1920s.
- These movements called for religious revivalism.
- The rise of evangelical Protestantism saw the rise of anti-saloon culture.
- This culture materialized in the 1920s and also brought about a decade of organized crime and corruption.
- Pietistic Protestants, Progressives, and women were the pioneering prohibitionists.
- The Anti-Saloon League was at the forefront of the movement for nationwide prohibition.
- Saloon-based political corruption was forwarded by prohibitionists as a strong reason to ban alcohol.
- Women viewed alcohol as a cause of violence and damage to marriages and families.
- The strength of these perfectionist movements in some parts of America made people support prohibition.
- Many factory owners supported prohibition to increase the productivity of their labourers. They believed that alcohol made people less reliable at work.
- There were also claims that alcohol led to anarchy and helped spread Communism.
- Another claim was that alcohol led to child deaths through smothering.
- Many of the big breweries were German-owned, thus American drinkers were portrayed as unpatriotic.
- Among the influential anti-alcohol campaigners were groups of women and wealthy businessmen who believed that the Volstead Act should be implemented on a national scale through the Amendment of the US Constitution.
BACKGROUND AND IMPLEMENTATION
- In 1919, the 18th Amendment to the US Constitution identified prohibition as the complete ban on manufacturing, selling, and transporting liquor in the United States.
- Maine was the first state to pass prohibition on June 2, 1851.
By 1917, about two-thirds of states in the south and west followed suit.
- As a result, districts were divided into wet and dry.
- In 1893, the Anti-Saloon League was established, condemning the ungodly practice of alcoholism.
- By 1906, the movement was revived, attacking the sale of liquor.
- The National Prohibition Act came to be known as the Volstead Act as proposed by Representative Andrew Volstead of Mississippi, Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.
- The Volstead Act was passed on October 28, 1919 and ratified on January 17, 1920.
- The initial enforcement was assigned to the IRS (Internal Revenue Service) and later transferred to the Department of Justice.
- On January 16, 1920, the Age of Prohibition began in the United States.
- The 18th Amendment was enforced, which made the sale of alcohol in America illegal.
- Section 1 of the 18th Amendment reads: After one year from the ratification of this article the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors within, the importation thereof into, or the exportation thereof from the United States and all territory subject to the jurisdiction thereof for beverage purposes is hereby prohibited.
STRUGGLES IN IMPLEMENTATION
- The government struggled to enforce the law regarding prohibition throughout the 1920s.
- At first, the Internal Revenue Service was in charge of the enforcement, then the Justice Department.
- Enforcement was enacted more in rural areas than in urban areas.
- It resulted in a decline in arrests for drunkenness as well as alcohol consumption.
- It also resulted in a drastic decline in the rates of alcoholism-related diseases, such as liver cirrhosis.
FAILURE OF THE POLICY
- Those who wanted to keep consuming alcohol developed tactics to get around the legislation. This led to a rise in organised crime.
- People relied on bootlegging, the unlawful manufacture and sale of liquor.
- Even if there was a decline in arrests related to drunkenness, the rate of criminal activity related to bootlegging and smuggling rose.
- Speakeasies were created. These were bars hidden away from the public eye.
- Alcohol was smuggled from one state to another. Moonshine was produced in-house.
- Al Capone was a gangster from Chicago notorious for his bootlegging and speakeasy operations that earned him over $60 million.
- The gang violence that came with this kind of unlawful operation rose massively.
- By the end of the 1920s, support for prohibition was decreasing.
- The period of prohibition ended with Franklin D. Roosevelt running for president in 1932 and winning with a platform to end prohibition.
- This was also in the early stages of the Great Depression, and the economy was helped by the tax revenues from alcohol production and consumption.
- The 21st Amendment was created to repeal the 18th Amendment, and ratified in December 1933.
- It was not until 1966 that all states abandoned the ban.
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about the Prohibition across 20 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Prohibition worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the National Prohibition Act, or the Volstead Act, which was a federal law enforcing the prohibition of liquor and was passed in October 1919. The law banned the production, transportation, importation, and selling of liquor through the ratification of the Eighteenth Amendment and the enforcement of the Volstead Act. The ratification took effect a year later. This began a period in American history called Prohibition.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Prohibition Facts
- True or False?
- Vocabulary Extension
- Timeline of Prohibition
- Propaganda Interpretation
- Important People
- Picture Analysis
- Lithograph Analysis
- The Roaring Twenties
- Prohibition Poster
- Prohibition Collage
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Link will appear as Prohibition Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, May 28, 2020
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.