The period of American history during which no one drank...anything but alcohol.

Just The Facts

  1. The prohibition of alcohol lasted from 1919 to 1933 for thirteen years, five months, and nine days.
  2. It furthered the everlasting vision of a moral society by providing gangs with an easy and lucrative source of profit.
  3. It displayed that a societal urge to get wasted can overcome anything.

Cracked On Prohibition

The supporters of the Prohibition of Alcohol had noble goals. They saw alcohol as a scourge on society that led men to beat their wives, quit their jobs, and be in a perpetual state of drunkenness.

The guy on the phone will hear the flush, and it will be awkward.

Naturally they wanted to get rid of it. So they walked up to the government in their skimpiest skirt, gave him a few drinks, and told him about the wonders that Prohibition would bring. The government ratified the Eighteenth Amendment in January 29, 1919, and prohibited the sale, import, export, transportation, and fornication with alcohol.

Look at all that wasted government spending. I'll be here all week.

Unfortunately, much like almost every other government plan, it spectacularly backfired (5 Government Programs That Backfired Horrifically).

Once it became clear that the law was utterly unenforceable without an Orwellian-esque surveillance system, the people decided to continue drinking. Since the legal merchants, the saloons, were out of business, the people headed to the speakeasies for some alcohol, prostitution, and gambling.

The speakeasies got their supply of alcohol from gangsters, who subsequently spent the money on some of the bloodiest turf wars in American history.

This is one of Google Images' first results for 'turf war'. Think this but with more blood.

The president wondered why Prohibition was not working, and put together a handcrafted team, the Wickersham Commission, to find out how to fix it. Their suggestion was to add more money and enforcement, because when something's not working don't try a new angle, just try harder dammit!

The Twenty-first Amendment was ratified on December 5th, 1933, because the government finally saw that throwing people in jail for using an addictive substance was much more harmful than just keeping it legalized. Just kidding. What actually happened was the Great Depression, and everyone, even the government, wanted to drown their sorrows in some sweet, sweet alcohol.