Should the United States have enacted the Prohibition Amendment?



Prohibition was an amendment that was repealed by the 21st Amendment for the greater good. The laws of prohibition outlawed transporting, manufacturing and the sale of alcohol. The 18th Amendment was introduced in the 1920s and caused joy for some and anger for others. A couple of reasons why the banning of alcohol was a not so good idea is because it brought out law breakers and made people lose jobs.

First off, during the outlaw of alcohol, many people began showing their criminal side. One example being that people didn’t respect the laws and instead broke them and illegally sold alcohol. “Prohibition led to the creation of a special federal bureau charged with stopping the sale of illegal alcohol” (The War Against Alcohol Primary source pg. 608). People in this bureau could be spotted cracking open barrels of illegal alcohol such as rum. Another example of crimes that were committed during these times were murders. Between the years 1920 and about 1933, the murder rates were growing and growing every year (Murder Rate, 1920-1940 Primary Source, pg. 608). This is said to be because people couldn’t get their alcohol without it being illegal and since they were so desperate they killed for it. It could’ve also been growing because when they did get their illegal alcohol it was being illegally manufactured and not made by professionals so what they were drinking could have been a lot more “effective” and caused more drunkenness than professionally made alcohol . In the year 1933, when alcohol prohibition was repealed, the murder rates were decreasing, most likely because people could purchase well crafted alcohols and people didn’t have to kill anyone to obtain alcohol. 

Another reason why prohibition was not such a good thing that occurred was because many people lost their jobs because of it. Bars, breweries, liquor stores and distilleries were all forced to shut down because the business they were conducting was now considered illegal. “The [Bureau] of Internal revenue estimated that the prohibition cause the shutdown of over 200 distilleries, a thousand breweries, and over 170,000 liquor stores” (Negative Economic Impacts of Prohibition · The Unintended Consequences of Prohibition · Digital Exhibits). This means that thousands of workers had to leave their jobs because, in the words of the 18th Amendment, what they were doing was now illegal. These thousands of people had to find new jobs that could have been hard to find, especially since so many people were forced to quit their jobs and now had to compete to find new jobs so that they could afford and take care of themselves and possibly their families.

With all of the reasons why outlawing alcohol was not a smart idea, there are valid reasons on why prohibition was a good thing. Some reasons including the fact that a lot of money was being saved to support oneself or one's family (Prohibition poster “In War or Peace Which Needs It Most” by the American Issue Publishing Company, 1917), there was less drunkenness in the family home, and employers were seeing more employees coming into work sober and not hungover. Although these are good reasons to think about if one believes prohibition of alcohol was a good thing, the bad does somewhat outweigh the good here. People probably care about the murder rate being lowered more than if someone is coming into work a little bit hungover from something they decided to do to themselves the night before. 

All in all, prohibition is something that should not have come into play and it is good that it was repealed. Even with all the good that occurred, there were too many bad and even horrible things that ended up happening all because of one amendment. If something like this were to happen today, how might the people of the United States react?