TheU.S. has been trying to reduce the abuse of alcohol throughprohibition for many years. The establishment of the Anti-SaloonLeague in 1893 enhanced the prohibition movement (Ohio StateUniversity, 2016). However, the ban became successful when theEighteenth Amendment was made in the 1919 (OSU, 2016). The amendmentnullified license of manufacturing, sale, and the distribution ofalcohol. The idea of alcohol prohibition sounds good in theory, butthe enforcement is quite impractical.
Alcoholwas prohibited in the U.S. for four major reasons. First, thenational mood during the First World War encouraged the country toadopt measures that could keep citizens alert. The Anti-Saloonmovement also played a critical role in creating this mood byincreasing the popularity of an idea that the consumption of alcoholwas damaging the society (Kucerova, 2011). Therefore, the notion oflimiting the amount of alcohol that was consumed by Americans wasintended to protect the society from the damaging effects of thealcohol.
Secondly,religious groups contributed towards the debate by supporting anargument that excessive consumption of alcoholic products wasinconsistent with the will of God. Consumers of the products tend tolose self-control, which increase the chances of engaging inactivities (such as fighting) that violate God’s commandments(Kucerova, 2011). Apart from reducing the negative effects associatedwith the abuse of the product, probation would also enhance safetyand stability in the American society.
Third,the stakeholders in the area of policy making were motivated by moralreasons when designing laws that would prohibit the use of alcohol inthe country. The moral reasoning also became popular during the FirstWorld War. Many Americans argued that it would appear immoral if asection of Americans will continue enjoying alcohol, bearing in mindthat the nation’s young men were busy fighting for the safety aswell as the survival of their country (Lerner, 2011). Therefore,prohibition would create a chance for people to reflect on mattersthat would be considered to be of the national interest.
Lastly,alcohol bans are supported by practical reasons, such as the need tohave a population that is economically productive. Supporters of theEighteenth Amendment and other laws that have been formulated in theU.S. with the objective of limiting the rate of alcohol consumptionmanaged to convince the policy makers that a sober population is moreproductive (Kucerova, 2011). For example, it was projected that adecrease in the number of citizens using the product would result inan increase in the production of significant crops. In addition, theclosure of breweries would enhance the supply of barley for moresignificant uses, other than the production of alcohol.
laws were formulated for good reasons, but they resulted in somenegative effects. The laws made millions of the Americans criminals,since many of them started producing illegal alcohol in order tosatisfy the addicted population (Kucerova, 2011). It is estimatedthat the per capita post-prohibition consumption rate reached 1.63gallons, which represented an increase in the rate of the abuse ofalcohol by 11.64 % compared to pre-prohibition use (U.S. Departmentof Justice and Drug Enforcement Administration, 2015). The data is aclear proof of the fact that prohibition laws did not work asexpected.
Inaddition, the laws increased the rate of corruption among the lawenforcers, who were bribed in order to allow citizens to produce andconsume illegal brews. The access to illegal brews increased thehealth risk and chances of alcohol related deaths. For example, datashow that deaths associated with the abuse of alcohol had reduced in1919, but an exponential rate of increase was reported in 1922onwards (DJDEA, 2016). The increase was attributed to the rise in theaccessibility of illegal brews. Moreover, prohibition resulted in anegative economic impact, where the entire country lost revenue worthabout $ 11 billion and another $ 300 million in the form of the costof enforcing the law (Lerner, 2011). Therefore, the net economiceffect was negative.
Inconclusion, the idea of prohibiting alcohol was based on positivereasons, but the net effect was negative. The intentions of thelawmakers were to establish a sober society, give people a chance toreflect on the national issues, and expand the population of theeconomically productive population. However, it resulted in the lossof revenue, corruption, and access to illegal brew. In overall,prohibition sounds good in theory, but it does not work as expected.
Kucerova,Z. (2011). in the United States of America: 1920-1933.Masaryka: Tomas Bata University in Zlin.
Lerner,M. (2011). Unintended consequences. WETA.Retrieved September 7, 2016, fromhttp://www.pbs.org/kenburns/prohibition/unintended-consequences/
TheOhio State University (2016). Temperance and prohibition: Whyprohibition? OhioState University.Retrieved September 7, 2016, fromhttps://prohibition.osu.edu/why-prohibition
U.S.Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Administration (2015). Didalcohol use decrease during alcohol prohibition? DJDEA.Retrieved September 7, 2016, fromhttp://www.druglibrary.org/prohibitionresults1.htm