топик Prohibition

From 1920 to 1933, it was illegal to make, transport, or sell alcohol in the United States. This period is called Prohibition.

Churches and groups opposed to alcohol wanted it banned because they believed that drinking alcohol led to crime, poverty, early death, and great suffering for the families of drinkers. They wanted Americans to give up drinking and have a better life.

At first, drinking did decrease. Before long, though, alcohol was made illegally or smuggled in from other countries. Speakeasies, hidden places where people could buy and drink alcohol, became common in big cities. In 1925, there were over 100,000 speakeasies in New York City alone.

Organized gangssold most of the illegal alcohol and made a great deal of money doing this. They smuggled large quantities of alcohol from Canada or Europe and ran speakeasies where people could have dinner, dance, and watch floorshows while they drank. The gangs gave police officers money so they would not arrest them or shut down their businesses.

Alcohol was still legal if it was used as medicine or for religious ceremonies. Although many doctors prescribed whiskey for patients who did not need it, no one put a stop to the practice. People also made alcohol in their homes or backyards for themselves or to sell to others.

By 1931, it was clear that the law could not be enforced and that many Americans were not obeying other laws, as well. Some people thought that the number of people who drank alcohol and the number of violent crimes had increased during Prohibition.

Rival gangs became famous for their violent fights to decide who controlled the illegal alcohol business. In 1933, the federal Prohibition law was abolished, but individual states could continue to ban alcohol. Mississippi did this until 1966, the last state to do so.

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