The End of Prohibition

December 5th, 2016 @ 10:53am Sean Minor Food 0

On this day in 1933, the 21st Amendment was ratified marking the end of prohibition. 

Today we raise a glass in celebration of the end of this tumultuous time in history and pay homage to the brave souls that pushed this through congress to see the end of the ban on alcohol in the US.

This whole crazy thing started in the 1840s and quickly died as the American Civil War carried on- afterall who would ever want a ban on booze during war time? It began to gain momentum again soon after as the Prohibition Party, lead by the Women's Christian Temperance Union, began pushing for the complete prohibition of alcohol - not the moderation or regulation of the previous prohibition uprisings. From there the role alcohol played in American politics and everyday life in the early part of the century would divide the population into two teams- the "dries" and the "wets." But by January 1917 the wets had won and by December that same year an amendment to change our constitution was introduced- the infamous 18th Amendment. This amendment- later known as the Volstead Act was ratified January 1919, even after President Woodrow Wilson vetoed it,  and put into effect shortly after- backed by some 1500 Federal Prohibition Agents to enforce it. Bummer.

Bring on the speakeasies, moonshiners and the rule of gangsters in illegal alcohol sales. Al Capone made it his business of choice and the roaring 20's- fueled by jazz music, art, social change and major industrialization- roared on as one of the great times in American History- albeit minus "legal" booze. Even Jay Gatsby, of F. Scott Fitzgerald's Great Gatsby and a favorite at Sean Minor, got in on THE PEOPLE'S need for a nice drink- he's rumored to  have made much of his cashola from not-so-legal alcohol sales. It's also rumored that alcohol, in addition to Zelda Sayre, money and Princeton, was one of his major influences in Fitzgerald writing some of the greatest works in American literature.

We lost a lot of great brewers, growers and distillers during this time and one can only speculate how our lives would be different if wine grapes would not have been replaced by sub-par grapes and our winemakers wouldn't have left in search of the next great vine. But can you blame them?

The Great Depression soon hit and prohibition became even more unpopular. By December 5, 1933 the 18th Amendment had been repealed by the 21st Amendment. End of story, thank goodness!

When everyone gets home tonight, pour yourselves a nice glass of vino, mix a manhattan or crack a beer in celebration of one of the greatest decisions the American people have made, and the end of one of the weirdest times our country has seen! 

Photo Courtesy: Alcohol Problems and Solutions

Check out Wikipedia for more details on Prohibition- they've got it all!

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