The roaring twenties – the prohibition
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Découvrir une période historique : les années folles et la prohibition.
- La prohibition est une période durant laquelle la vente et la fabrication d'alcool était interdite aux États-Unis. Elle débuta en 1919, avec le vote du 18me amendement, et perdura jusqu'en 1933.
- Les pro-prohibitions voyaient cela comme un moyen d'économiser les revenus, d'améliorer la sécurité sur les lieux de travail et de lutter contre la corruption politique.
- Du côté de la classe moyenne et de la bourgeoisie, les avis sont partagés : un moyen de préserver la bonne moralité ou une intrusion dans les libertés individuelles ?
- Dans un tel contexte, la contrebande d'alcool s'est développée et des bars illégaux ont vu le jour.
- Cette mesure s'avéra un échec d'un point de vue social et politique.
1913: Webb Kenyan Act banning the
transportation of alcohol into the dry states which were
mainly located in the rural South.
1919: 18th Amendment forbidding the selling and making of any drink with more than one degree of alcohol. It is the beginning of prohibition.
1919, October, 28th: Volstead Act, according to which any drink containing more than 0,5% of alcohol was said to be alcoholic.
1920: enforcement of the 18th Amendment and of the dry laws.
1929, February 14th: Valentine's Day massacre. Al Capone's gang killed 7 persons in Chicago.
1933: 21st Amendment cancelled the 18th. It was the end of the prohibition.
Besides the prohibitionists believed it would be a radical solution: it would save some income, it would cleanse politics (political manipulation was identified with saloons) and increase the safety on plants.
Yet, in the North, many people felt it was an interference with individual freedom as guaranteed by the Constitution.
The police didn't have the means to enforce the law as they should have.
Smugglers managed to buy alcohol to illegal producers – or moonshiners – in the US or abroad and to sell it to bootleggers.
On the whole, the prohibition proved to be a failure socially and politically. During the Great Depression, public opinion realized it deprived many people of their job and that it contributed to the economic stagnation of the country.
The Association Against the Prohibition Amendment led
a campaign to cancel the 18th Amendment.
It backed up Democrats such as F.D. Roosevelt
who was elected President in 1932.
In 1933, the 21st Amendment, which cancelled the 18th, was ratified. It was the end of the prohibition.
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