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How did Prohibition end?

 
 
Reply Fri 3 Apr, 2009 04:07 pm
I'm curious what events took place, both in society and politically which led to the eventual repeal of prohibition. And what was the straw that finally broke the camel's back?

Did people call their congressmen and ask for changes, or did they run out of money to fund the battle against alcohol, or did it start as a political movement?


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Type: Discussion • Score: 9 • Views: 8,042 • Replies: 19
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tycoon
 
  1  
Reply Fri 3 Apr, 2009 04:50 pm
@rosborne979,
Good subject and good questions, ros.

Let me a suggest a theory in regard to the straw that broke the camel's back. The St. Valentine's Day massacre in Chicago, which was an unacceptable amount of violence for the citizenry to accept.

I'd be interested to see if my theory can stand a hail of bullets.
0 Replies
 
djjd62
 
  1  
Reply Fri 3 Apr, 2009 04:53 pm
they prohibited it

lock it up, question answered
0 Replies
 
Foxfyre
 
  1  
Reply Fri 3 Apr, 2009 05:12 pm
I don't know that it was any single event. Certainly the public was fed up with it and war weary from the gang (Mafia) activity that thrived running speak easys and bootlegging. Herbert Hoover had pledged to support prohibition but FDR didn't. I've read of a gang of lawyers who did some pretty hefty lobbying for repeal of prohibition, but most credit FDR for tweaking the system to first allow low alcohol content beer sales even before prohibition was ended and that same year or immediately following (1931 or 32) congress passed an amendment repealing prohibition and FDR signed it. Most states ratified it right away but some held out for decades.
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Fri 3 Apr, 2009 05:52 pm
I would say the straw that finally broke the camel's back was the great depression. But FDR deserves credit for hastening it along.

Quote:
At 12:01 a.m. on April 7, 1933, sirens, fire alarms and train whistles shrieked. In Chicago, harried bartenders scrambled to serve crowds that stood 12 deep. At Pabst Brewing Co. in Milwaukee, thousands of onlookers cheered as company employees hoisted barrels and crates onto trucks. About 800 people stood in the rain outside the White House, watching as a man hopped out of his vehicle and unloaded two cases of beer. Secret Service agents accepted the goods, a gift for the chief executive from one of the nation's brewers. "President Roosevelt," read a sign on the side of the truck, "the first real beer is yours."

By the early 1930s, most Americans were done with the experiment. Emboldened by Roosevelt's election, "wet" members of the lame-duck 72nd Congress managed to pass a repeal amendment just days before FDR took office. But two-thirds of the states had to ratify the measure -- a process that would take months.

So on March 13, the president asked Congress to legalize beer right away. The plan was elegant in its simplicity. The 18th Amendment merely banned "alcoholic" beverages; it did not identify what those were. That was spelled out in the Volstead Act, which defined an "alcoholic" and "intoxicating" drink as one containing more than 0.5% alcohol. Solution: Rewrite Volstead to categorize "nonintoxicating" beverages as ones containing up to 3.2% alcohol -- the same as most pre-Prohibition beer. Brewers could reopen their doors, hire workers and start paying $5 a barrel in federal taxes. (Winemakers and distillers would have to wait eight months for the ratification of the 21st Amendment. Even the most creative congressman had trouble labeling 80-proof spirits as "nonintoxicating.")

Versions of that plan had been proposed and defeated in every Congress since 1920, but Roosevelt gambled that he would succeed where others had failed. It was not the only risk he would take. A few days earlier, he'd asked the nation's remaining banks to temporarily shut their doors, knowing that might spark more panic.

The economic chaos had spawned cynicism, hopelessness and, above all, fear. Roosevelt believed that bold leadership and decisive action would nurture trust, that trust would inspire hope and that hope would move the nation. But many of FDR's economic proposals bred their own stew of unease; no one knew, for example, if the bank holiday would succeed or provoke yet another financial crisis. The beer bill, in contrast, offered comfort because it would ignite an immediate, predictable and positive result: jobs and tax revenues.

Congress heeded the call. On March 22, FDR signed a bill legalizing 3.2% beer. Within two days, brewers in Milwaukee had hired 600 workers. Beer makers in New York announced plans to spend $22 million refurbishing their dilapidated plants. Detroit automakers scrambled to supply brewers and their wholesalers with $15 million in new cars and trucks. In the 48 hours after the beer taps opened April 7, brewers paid $10 million in federal, state and municipal taxes ($155 million in today's dollars).


http://articles.latimes.com/2008/apr/07/opinion/oe-ogle7
JTT
 
  1  
Reply Fri 3 Apr, 2009 09:54 pm
Yup, a war or booze. Two things that can be counted on to wreck a good depression.
0 Replies
 
rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Tue 7 Apr, 2009 08:44 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Robert Gentel wrote:

I would say the straw that finally broke the camel's back was the great depression.

That's interesting since we are now facing the worse economic conditions since the great depression, and we're starting to hear talk of restricted legalization in the popular media.

Instead of starting with 3.2% beer this time, maybe it'll start with pot and expand beyond that.
0 Replies
 
Below viewing threshold (view)
JTT
 
  1  
Reply Wed 19 May, 2010 04:08 pm
@nicemonica122,
That sure is nice monica.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Wed 19 May, 2010 07:23 pm
@Foxfyre,
Foxfyre wrote:
I don't know that it was any single event. Certainly the public was fed up with it and war weary from the gang (Mafia) activity that thrived running speak easys and bootlegging. Herbert Hoover had pledged to support prohibition but FDR didn't. I've read of a gang of lawyers who did some pretty hefty lobbying for repeal of prohibition, but most credit FDR for tweaking the system to first allow low alcohol content beer sales even before prohibition was ended and that same year or immediately following (1931 or 32) congress passed an amendment repealing prohibition and FDR signed it. Most states ratified it right away but some held out for decades.


Senile dementia strikes again. You didn't think that one through, did you? Since FDR was elected in 1932, and was not sworn in until 1933, he could hardly have done as you allege in 1931 and 1932.
dyslexia
 
  1  
Reply Wed 19 May, 2010 07:35 pm
@Setanta,
which is probably one of the reasons foxfyre no longer posts on a2k.
0 Replies
 
rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Thu 20 May, 2010 08:58 am
One of the reasons I started this thread was to see if the same (or similar) forces which ended Prohibition in the early part of the century, could be used to help end the modern version of Prohibition, which we call "The War on Drugs".

Setanta
 
  0  
Reply Thu 20 May, 2010 10:05 am
@rosborne979,
I would doubt it. First, there have been thousands of years of alcohol being a legal drug of choice. Second, alcohol was a drug of choice of the overwhelming majority of people as regards all other drugs. Finally, drug use is now all wrapped up in a huge amount of social and political bitterness which was born in the divide known as the generation gap in the '60s and '70s. There are millions of people who will got to their graves (with cocktail in hand) opposing "drug abuse."
rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Thu 20 May, 2010 03:11 pm
@Setanta,
I fear you are correct.

But maybe once those millions of people have gone to their graves, things will change?
0 Replies
 
Letty
 
  1  
Reply Thu 20 May, 2010 03:57 pm
Guys, the straw that broke the camel's back was that our government needed the tax money.

Miss our foxyowl.
hamburgboy
 
  2  
Reply Thu 20 May, 2010 04:09 pm
@Letty,
let's get a little poetic :

Quote:
At the same time, songs emerged decrying the act; after Edward, Prince of Wales, returned to the United Kingdom following his 1919 tour of Canada, he recounted to his father, King George V, a ditty he'd heard at a border town:

“ Four and twenty Yankees, feeling very dry,
Went across the border to get a drink of rye.
When the rye was opened, the Yanks began to sing,
"God bless America, but God save the King!"[12]



Laughing Drunk
Letty
 
  1  
Reply Thu 20 May, 2010 04:21 pm
@hamburgboy,
Funny, hbg. Remember Joycelyn Elders? She wanted to legalize drugs and get the same taxes that Obama's regime is getting from cigarettes, and he smokes.

As far as the war on drugs is concerned, doesn't work 'cause nobody pays any taxes.

Smoke, smoke, smoke that cigarette,
Puff, puff, puff, until you smoke yourself to death.
Tell St. Peter at the golden gate that you just hate to make him wait,
'cause you just gotta have another cigarette.



0 Replies
 
tycoon
 
  1  
Reply Thu 20 May, 2010 06:18 pm
@rosborne979,
rosborne979 wrote:

One of the reasons I started this thread was to see if the same (or similar) forces which ended Prohibition in the early part of the century, could be used to help end the modern version of Prohibition, which we call "The War on Drugs".


Certainly, the St Valentine's Day Massacre pales in comparison to today's violence attributable to the drug war, perhaps on a daily basis. One would think that the same impulses that turned the tide of opinion against Prohibition are still prevalent today.


rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Mon 24 May, 2010 12:55 pm
@tycoon,
tycoon wrote:
One would think that the same impulses that turned the tide of opinion against Prohibition are still prevalent today.

But since we still have a "war on drugs" and no end in sight... apparently not.
0 Replies
 
JTT
 
  1  
Reply Mon 24 May, 2010 01:11 pm
@tycoon,
Quote:
Certainly, the St Valentine's Day Massacre pales in comparison to today's violence attributable to the drug war,


Gangsters of old had much better manners.
0 Replies
 
 

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