The American Prohibition of Alcohol in the 1920's Essay
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The American Prohibition of Alcohol in the 1920's
The prohibition of alcohol in the United States lasted from 1920 until 1932. The movement began in the late nineteenth century, and was fueled by the formation of the Anti-Saloon League in 1893 (Why Prohibition?). This league and other anti-alcohol organizations, began to succeed in establishing local prohibition laws. By the 1920's prohibition was a national effort.
The prohibition movement was aimed primarily at closing saloons. Saloons were the brewing companies place in retail business, selling alcohol by the glass. In the early twentieth century, there was one saloon for every one-hundred fifty or two-hundred Americans. This competitiveness forced saloon keepers to find…show more content…
The other way to get alcohol was in “speakeasies;” underground saloons. Oftentimes the bartenders at speakeasies would not actually mix drinks, but only supply glasses and ice. The only real skill involved with being a bartender was the ability to remain calm during police raids. Some considered the bartenders at speakeasies to be cheapening the profession (Cocktail). Still, many of these establishments are still open, and boast of their activity during Prohibition. There are more than fifteen bars currently open in Chicago that operated as speakeasies in the 1920's and use that fact as an advertisement.
The speakeasies were supplied illegally by gangsters, most notably; Al Capone in Chicago. Capone spent over $75 million bribing police and politicians in Chicago, but within two years was earing $60 million a year through the sale of alcohol. Other activities were earning him an extra $45 million a year. The money that could be made from selling alcohol illegally led to gang wars, and over 200 gangsters were killed in Chicago in just four years. Bill Thomson, elected mayor of Chicago 1927, was one of the men Capone bribed. Upon election, Thomson boasted that he would reopen speakeasies that had been shut down, and allow more to be opened (Beitrag).
This utter disregard for the law, even by men in such high positions, leads to the overall conclusion that prohibition was a failure. Although consumption of alcohol is estimated to have