18th Amendment Essay

850 Words4 Pages
In 1933, the 21st Amendment was ratified. It repealed the ban of the manufacture, sale, and transportation of intoxicating liquors (a ban commonly called Prohibition) that had been put in place by the 18th Amendment. During Prohibition, the United States (U.S.) became nearly lawless, as crime rates skyrocketed and organized crime became very influential because the illegal alcohol trade was extremely profitable. After President Roosevelt was elected and took office in 1933, Prohibition was repealed. The 18th Amendment decreased the legitimacy of the U.S. government through reducing the rule of law by increasing crime rates, organized crime, and corruption, then, the 21st Amendment furthered the rule of law and legitimacy of the U.S. government…show more content…
While many people supported Prohibition, there was still an overwhelming demand for alcoholic beverages. In only the first two years of Prohibition, there were 65,000 federal criminal actions. The amount of criminal activity during Prohibition was overwhelming for the authorities and it was impossible for them to handle. The 18th Amendment did not even decrease the number of drinking establishments in some areas. For example, there were about 15,000 legal drinking establishments in New York before the 18th Amendment and 32,000 illegal ones after. Thus, the 18th Amendment increased the opportunities for drinking, when it’s purpose was to stop drinking entirely. Liquor was also often made inside people’s homes from ingredients that were commonly sold. It is estimated that Americans made 700 million gallons of liquor in makeshift stills sold by hardware stores. Illegal liquor came from many different places, that were very hard to police. The 18th Amendment caused more problems than it…show more content…
Police officers were bribed with sums of money much larger than their salaries to look the other way. During the 1920s, police inspectors made a few thousand dollars per year, but in Philadelphia, for example, two inspectors made $192,000 and $102,000 from payoffs. Police were offered irresistible sums of money to allow the illegal alcohol trade to happen, and because of this, the police were part of the corruption. Alcohol was often smuggled by boat from other countries, creating a challenge for those enforcing U.S. borders. The Coast Guard had 11,000 agents, but it was never able to intercept over 5% of alcohol smugglers because their boats were outclassed by the smugglers, who could afford more expensive boats. The Coast Guard did not have enough money to keep up with the smugglers, who used their illegal profits to afford much more expensive equipment. Finally, the illegal alcohol trade was full of competition between suppliers. Since there were no laws regulating the industry, disputes among competitors were settled with violence instead of negotiation. Prohibition created an unregulated alcohol trade that got out of hand very fast. During Prohibition, the U.S. was extremely chaotic and rule of law was almost non-existent because of the extreme amounts of corruption and overwhelming amounts of

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