How Did Prohibition Affect The Economy Of The 1920s

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The Prohibition that plagued the United States of America during the Progressive Era and the Great Depression from 1920 to 1933 contributed to social tensions, negative impacts on the economy, and dissent in politics. Prohibition was a nationwide constitutional ban on the production, importation, transportation, and sale of alcoholic beverages. In the early nineteenth century, myriads of immigrants from western and southern Europe came to the United States of America in search of freedom and opportunity. The influx of immigrants created nativist views and social class tensions, as immigrants replaced Americans in the job market and many lived in poverty in slums. In the slums, there were meeting places similar to bars, called saloons. Many …show more content…

Many politicians who were Progressives, such as the president of the United States from 1901-1909, Theodore Roosevelt, believed that the prohibition was a necessary action to revive the country from poverty, crime, corruption, and social tensions. Corruption, inefficiency, monopolies, and social injustice all ran rampant in the Gilded Age and the early nineteenth century, and these issues were blamed on alcohol, corruption, and the working-class. In his re-nomination speech in 1912, Governor Ben W. Hooper of Tennessee clearly positioned himself against alcohol: “When I appeal to the people for a legislature free from saloon domination my appeal is not based alone upon grounds of temperance and morality. I want to say to the businessmen and taxpayers of this state that no valuable reform measure of any character can be secured at the hands of a legislature controlled by whiskey power.” The saloons stayed in business by selling alcohol to communities, and affluent politicians would partner with the saloons in the slums, and bribery and corruption would ensue. The Governor of Tennessee was arguing that as long as there is alcohol powering saloons, there will be corruption in politics. While the approach of eliminating saloons to therefore eliminate corruption is ideal hypothetically, corruption is rooted deeper than meets the eye in politics. The prohibitionist approach is unrealistic and unfeasible. In actuality, in creating a further divide in politics with the issue of prohibition, politics became more corrupt. Clarence Darrow, an anti-prohibitionist, wrote, “If a man were ‘dry’, even if he might be a thief, a crook, or the worst enemy the world ever had, every blooming fool fellow who belonged to that League would vote for him. If he were a statesman, a philosopher, a historian, a wise man, but took a drink, he would have to go. So they load up the Congress of the United States with nincompoops, with

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