Prohibition Remembrance Day is on January 16 annually. Did you know that one of the groups that were instrumental in the passage of the 18th Amendment was the Women’s Christian Temperance Union (W.C.T.U.)? They believed an amendment would protect children, women, and families from the effects of alcohol abuse by reducing social problems such as poverty, crime, mental illness, and drunkenness. Prohibition had effects on society, but it isn’t as straightforward as it might seem!
History of Prohibition Remembrance Day
Prohibition in the United States was a nationwide constitutional ban on the production, importation, transportation, and sale of alcoholic beverages from 1920 to 1933.
In 1906, waves of attacks began on the sale of liquor, led by the Anti-Saloon League driven by a reaction to urban growth, as well as the rise of evangelical Protestantism and its view of saloon culture as corrupt and ungodly. In addition, many factory owners supported prohibition in their desire to prevent accidents and increase the efficiency of their workers in an era of increased industrial production and extended working hours.
Prohibition came about after many years of work by those in the temperance movement, who wanted complete abstinence from alcohol. As a whole, the movement had close ties to the church. By the time the amendment went into effect, many states already had prohibition laws on the books, which helped with the final passage of the amendment.
The amendment was quite controversial during its 13-year tenure, and public pressure eventually led to its repeal. There were debates about its positive and negative qualities during its implementation, as there have been since its overturning. Overall, alcohol consumption declined during the Prohibition period, cirrhosis rates decreased, and admissions to mental hospitals for alcohol-related issues decreased.
Prohibition Remembrance Day timeline
The General Court of Massachusetts bans the sale of liquor to Indians.
Prohibitionists, led by pietistic Protestants, try to end the trade in alcoholic drinks.
Congress enforces the Wartime Prohibition Act, banning alcohol above 1.28%.
The 18th Amendment is overruled by the 21st Amendment, lifting the alcohol ban.
Prohibition Remembrance Day FAQs
Where was alcohol sold illegally during Prohibition?
During the prohibition era, underground bars were secretly opened. Speakeasies were the popular ones — the name attributed to the need for patrons to be discreet so they were not caught by the police – sold alcoholic drinks.
Did Prohibition cause the Great Depression?
The loss in tax revenue and legal jobs resulting from the ban on the production, transportation, and sales of alcoholic drinks, played a role in the Great Depression.
Which states did not have Prohibition?
Prohibition was declared at a national level and made a federal law; the States of Connecticut and Rhode Island rejected it and were the last two standing states.
How much money did the U.S. lose during Prohibition?
Prohibition cost the federal government about $11 billion in taxes, yet it took over $300 million to legalize the bill.
How to Observe Prohibition Remembrance Day
Host a party with drinks
Have a house party with the most popular drinks of the Prohibition era on-site. Relish the freedom that comes with taking whatever drinks you like. However, make sure you’re not driving afterward.
Read the 18th and 21st Amendments
With your preferred drink in hand, read up copies of the 18th and 21st Amendments. These are historical legal documents that will interest you and be worthwhile reading.
Visit a museum
A trip to the Museum of the American Cocktail would be perfect for this day. Call up a friend or family, and have a great time viewing history in plain sight.
5 Facts About Prohibition That Will Surprise You
Drug stores sold alcohol
The Volstead Act included a few exceptions to the ban on alcohol distribution and sales, allowing drug stores to sell alcohol as ‘medicine.’
It wasn’t illegal to drink alcohol
The 18th Amendment forbade the “manufacture, sale, and transportation of intoxicating liquors” — inferring that it was not a crime to consume alcohol.
Thousands died from drinking tainted liquor
Out of desperation during this period, illicit alcohol — some having toxic chemicals in them — was produced and consumed, leading to several ailments and the eventual death of many consumers.
According to a study conducted by MIT and Boston University economists, alcohol consumption fell by as much as 70% during the early years of Prohibition.
It continues in some states to date
Even after the repeal of Prohibition, some states such as Arkansas, Kentucky, and Georgia still allow counties within their borders to maintain the ban on alcohol.
Why Prohibition Remembrance Day is Important
Helps us cherish our freedom of choice
We now live in an age where there are little to no bans on our preferred drinks and food. This day helps us appreciate and not take that freedom to choose that we enjoy for granted.
It provides a great social platform
Through the parties and activities held on this day, different people get to meet and interact. New relationships are built and social spheres expand.
Reminds us of the importance of moderation
Alcohol was initially banned because people abused it and took it in excess, resulting in negative occurrences. We are reminded to drink responsibly and in moderation — the best way anything can be enjoyed.
Prohibition Remembrance Day dates