Why was prohibition introduced in the 1920’s? And why was it abandoned?


During the 1920s there were many concerns from different groups about how much alcohol people drank (mainly men). This caused the government to ban all sales of alcohol. Due to many reasons, they were forced to re-introduce it. This essay explains the reasons for the government’s actions during the period.


One of the key reasons for the introduction of prohibition was that Christians felt that men were further away from God when they were under the influence of alcohol. Many Christian groups became very concerned with the effect this was having on the religious commitment of the population. As concern mounted, Christian parties formed, such as the “Anti- saloon league” and the “Women’s Christian temperance union.” These groups issued posters against the drinking and selling of alcohol. They performed movements for prohibition and gave up consuming alcohol. Groups like these realised the amount of suffering alcohol caused, such as domestic violence. Domestic violence became a huge problem as consuming alcohol became more popular, with more and more women and children being abused. Men went out and became intoxicated, when they returned drunk they became violent and beat their families. As women became more aware of what was happening, they wanted to put a stop to it.


Another main reason for the introduction of prohibition was that people did less work when they had been drinking. People would have a few drinks in their lunch break, and find themselves over tired for work in the after- noon. Company owners, managers and bosses lost time and money because of the idle workers. They found that less work was done, as drinking became more popular.


In the First World War other countries, including enemies, thrived and some survived purely on the profit they made from America buying its alcoholic produce. Many Americans felt this was wrong, as their money was being used against them. These problems, along with the protesting Christian groups, and the increase in domestic violence finally triggered the government to ban the selling and making of alcohol.


Once prohibition had been nationally introduced in 1919, the government discovered that it wasn’t such a good idea after all. The police found it very difficult to inforce a law of which the majority of people didn’t agree with. Most people enjoyed a drink so many people bought it illegally. Because it was illegal to buy a drink, many people found they wanted one more than ever, the public demand for alcohol was huge. As so many people were drinking illegal liquor, the police found it extremely hard to inforce the law, and many policemen drank, which made it harder to inforce. Authorities were discredited because people didn’t believe in what they were doing, they lost their respect making them almost worthless. The country was also losing money, as the tax on buying alcohol was no longer an income.


Making alcohol illegal led to an extremely high increase in crime throughout the country. Many gangsters became very rich from selling illegal alcohol. This made the police even more powerless as the most powerful people in the country were now gangsters like Al Capone. Gangsters ruled the largest cities like Chicago and New York.


Because of all these reasons, prohibition was abandoned in 1933.