How Did The 18th Amendment Cause Organized Crime

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Ratified on January 16th, 1919, the 18th Amendment banned the manufacture, transportation, and sale of liquor. This proved difficult to enforce, and, although it did help decrease crimes stemming from the consumption of alcohol, it led to a rise in organized crime in the production of alcohol; the alcohol bootlegging industry became more common—as well as more profitable. Widespread public cynicism led Congress to ratify the 21st Amendment in 1933, which repealed the 18th Amendment (the History Channel). The 18th Amendment forbade the production and commercial sale of alcoholic beverages. As section one of the amendment states: "After one year from the ratification of this article the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors within, the importation thereof into, or the exportation thereof from the United States and all territory subject to the jurisdiction thereof for beverage purposes is hereby prohibited," (the United …show more content…

Shortly after it was enacted, there was a substantial reduction in alcohol consumption amongst the general public, particularly among low-income groups (David Oshinsky). Likewise, there was an overall decrease in crime, particularly in crimes associated with the effects of alcohol consumption (Frank L Iber). However, consumption soon climbed again as illicit entrepreneurs began producing "rotgut" alcohol. Those who continued to use alcohol formed organized criminal groups, who were able to take advantage of uneven enforcement of prohibition laws. Police forces soon became overwhelmed with arrests and complaints, and such criminals took advantage of corruptible public officials. Soon, these criminals established murderous underground smuggling networks. Anti-prohibition groups arose—just as quickly as groups that favored prohibition arose years prior—and worked to have the amendment repealed, as it could be seen that prohibition caused more issues than it

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