Sunday, October 28, 2012
The United States began a destructive era in its history on October 28, 1919, when Congress passed the Volstead Act, which implemented the Eighteenth Amendment establishing Prohibition; it then overrode President Wilson’s veto on the same day. The law defined “intoxicating liquors” that were prohibited and set forth enforcement rules, which proved largely ineffective. Prohibition was not entirely about booze. It represented a growing conflict between urban and rural values; it imposed mainly rural Protestant ideals on urban, non-Protestant populations; and reflected “nativistic” notions that America’s greatness resulted from a white Anglo-Saxon ancestry. Repealed in 1933, Prohibition led to multi-faceted corruption and criminal activity in America, loosening of morals in the 1920s, and the illicit joys of speakeasies (pictured).