The Harmful Law

​     When choosing my topic I chose my topic by trying to think of something that most people would have at lest herd a little about but would not be what they first though of when they heard of revolution, reaction, and reform. I don't know what made me first think of Prohibition but once I though of it I became very interested in the topic. Prohibition relates to the topic of revolution, reaction, and reform because The Eighteenth Amendment was a revolution which caused a reaction, organized crime, and the Twenty-First Amendment is the reform. When conducting my research I started by learning more about Al Capone and how he, and other organized crime, affected the making of the Twenty-First Amendment. Also I researched how peoples opinions changed form before the Eighteenth Amendment to before the Twenty-First Amendment. I decided to do a performance because I though it would be interesting to present the topic from the point of view of alcohol.


Rothstein, Edward. "Las Vegas Embraces Bad Guys of Its Past." New York Times 13 Febuary 2012, n. pag. 0. <>.


            This source talks about the Mob Museum in Las Vegas. The Mob Museum opened on Valentine's Day 83 years after the St. Valentines Day Massacre. It shows both the more attractive side of organized crime and the more violent. It also talks about the fight to stop organized crime.


"7 Chicago Gangsters Slain by Firing Squad of Rivals, in Police Uniforms." The New York Times - Breaking News, World News & Multimedia. Web. Jan. 2012. <>.


This source talks about the St. Valentine's day Massacre and how brutal it was. It talks about those who were killed and how two of the four men who killed them were dressed in police uniforms, which made them think that it was a police raid. This source is useful because it shows how different gangs would go after each other. Also it shows how Al Capone could easily avoid the blame by using the alibi that he was in Florida even though he still could have coordinated the event from Florida. It also shows how the police were unable to find those who did it.


"Prohibition Repeal Is Ratified at 5:32 P.M.;Roosevelt Asks Nation to Bar the Saloon;New York Celebrates With Quiet Restraint." The New York Times - Breaking News, World News & Multimedia. Web. Jan. 2012. <>.


This source talks about when the Twenty-first Amendment was ratified which repealed the Eighteenth Amendment making alcohol once again legal in the United States. This source is useful because it shows how President Roosevelt greatly supported the end of prohibition because of the organized crime and illegal trafficking that happened because of the Eighteenth Amendment.


"The Constitution of the United States: Amendments 11-27." National Archives and Records Administration. Web. Jan. 2012. <>.


This source is the Eighteenth and Twenty-first Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. This source is useful because it shows how both of the amendments are written which makes it easier to comprehend what each amendment actually does. For example the Eighteenth Amendment makes it illegal to make, sell or transport alcohol but says nothing against drinking it. The Twenty-first Amendment both ends Prohibition and makes it able for any aria to make there own laws about alcohol there.


"Volstead Act- 1920." American History and World History at the Largest and Most Complete History Site on the Web. Web. Jan. 2012. <>.


The Vostead Act was made after the Eighteenth Amendment in order to define intoxicating liquors. It also talks about the penalties for breaking the Eighteenth Amendment and the laws concerning alcohol used for medical use. This source is useful because it shows more about the law then the Eighteenth Amendment.




"Prohibition." Digital History. Web. Dec. 2011. <>.

This source is useful because it starts by talking about the country before prohibition and what lead up to the 18th Amendment. It explains how the World War made it seem patriotic not to drink. It talks about how after the 18th Amendment was passed the government did not enforce the law enough and how after some time would not enforce it especially because a lot of polices were bribed. When the 18th Amendment was passed it did have some immediate heath benefits in the beginning but after a few years the consequences, like gang violence and increased drinking, became more apparent. People started to see that prohibition was not working the way they had expected and were beginning to think that it should end. It ends with the 21st Amendment and then the source concludes by explaining both the short and long term affects of prohibition and different opinions on it’s affect.

Hanson, David J. "Repeal of Prohibition." WWW2 Webserver. Web. Dec. 2011. <>.

This source starts of with showing how much people believed prohibition would succeed at fixing many of America' s problems. Instead it added more problems to society. After some time people and groups who greatly supported prohibition started to see that it was making things worse. Pauline Sabin was one of the people who greatly supported prohibition to help make America safer for her family. She then grew to see that prohibition was making it worse because of things like underage drinking, corruption in the government and violence. The same reasons why she supported prohibition was why she was against it. There are eleven different groups that were set on getting the 18th amendment repealed. In the 1932 election Franklin Roosevelt promised repeal when he ran for president. On December 5, 1933 74 percent voted to repeal prohibition. The 21st Amendment both repealed the 18th Amendment and made it possible for States to have there own laws concerning alcoholic beverages.        

Hanson, David J. "Prohibition: The Noble Experiment." WWW2 Webserver. Web. Dec. 2011. <>.

This source gives many facts about different parts of prohibition. Temperance societies spoke out against alcoholic beverages with a lot of passion but with little accuracy. They thought that people who drank a lot could spontaneously combust and that alcohol vapors could harm three generations of children. They considered alcohol a poison and a sin to drink it and would not believe evidence to the contrary. They wanted it removed from ancient text and rewrote the Bible so that it would not reference alcohol. They also had a picture of George Washington changed so that it would not show that he drank. Also during prohibition they had many ideas of harsh punishments that should be used to enforce the law. It also talked about some of the cons of prohibition. One thing was the disrespect the law had, the Speaker of the House had and used an illegal still. One time a jury was put on trial because they drank the evidence to a bootlegging case. Organized crime became a big part of America. Al Capone made sixty million dollars per year and when prohibition ended in Chicago almost 800 gangsters had been killed and so many citizens were affected by the bad quality of the alcohol.               

"Prohibition." PBS: Public Broadcasting Service. 2000. Web. Dec. 2011. <>.

This source starts by talking about the groups that were against drinking. In the years leading up to the 18th Amendment about half of the states saloons were illegal and most of those also had laws against the making of alcoholic beverages.  Saloons were becoming more violent and a lot of people thought that they were bad for family's in America. The 18th Amendment was ratified in January of 1919. Though prohibition was passed by Congress it was not given the resources needed to enforce the law. Prohibition lead to organized crime and lead to disrespect for the law. One example of this is that President Warren Harding had some drinks when he was at Miami Beach. People were wanting the 18th amendment to be repealed by the late 1920s. Because of the Great Depression people started blaming prohibition for lowering both the amount of jobs available and the amount for government revenue. In l933 the 21st Amendment was ratified with 93 percent in favor.

"History Files - Al Capone." Chicago History Museum. 1999. Web. Jan. 2012. <>.

This source talks about Al Capone. He was born in Brooklyn New York on the 17th of January,1899. He was part of different gangs in New York and had many different jobs. He was still a teenager when he killed two men and moved to Chicago in 1919. In Chicago he worked for John Torrio and quickly rose in power until he was Torrio's partner. He became the boss when Tarrio had to leave Chicago. He had more success then Torrio and in 1930 had a yearly income of $100,000,000. He was kicked out of Chicago and moved to Florida in 1928. He was good at having his enemies killed and would have an alibi ready. Even when he was in Florida he still was able to kill his enemies. One of the most known was the St. Valentine's Day Massacre in 1929. He did have some good traits. He believed strongly in loyalty and honer and when the stock market crashed he opened soup kitchens and had shops give food and clothes to those in need at his expense. He was rarely tried for his crimes. In 1927 the government started planing to arrest Capone for tax evasion. The main person in the investigation was Frank Wilson. Capone tried to bribe his way out but was not able to and got 11 years in prison.




Hanson, David . "Alcohol-Related Traffic Crashes: A Cause." WWW2 Webserver. N.p., n.d. Web. Feb 2012. <>.


This source talks about how dry counties have more alcohol-related traffic accidents then wet counties. The reason for this for this being that people in dry counties will drive farther to get alcohol. This source is helpful because is shows how places with laws against alcohol still have problems related to it like how there was more crime because of the Eighteenth Amendment.


Hanson, David J. "Dry counties." Alcohol. State of University of New York, 1997. Web. Feb 2012. <>.


This source talks about dry counties. These are places were alcohol is illegal. Some places have stricter laws then others. For example it is illegal to transport alcohol through some places but others allow alcohol to be served at large restaurants. This source is useful because it shows how prohibition is still around today.


Hanson, David. "Drinking and Driving." N.p., 2011. Web. Feb 2012. <>.


This source talks about drinking while driving. This includes how the problem is being salved and the penalty of drinking while driving. This source is useful because it shows the present problems with alcohol and how the law enforcement is dealing with the current problem.





            Hay, hay you! Can I talk to you for a minute? I’m Alcohol, and no your not drunk so don’t freak out on me. I was just thinking today about my past here in America. So in the beginning of the 201h century people were getting drunk all the time and starting numerous fights in saloons. People started to get angry with me especially some groups called the Women’s Christian Temperance group and the Anti-Saloon League. Finally the government came along and created the Eighteenth Amendment and the Volstead Act making it illegal to make, sell, or transport me. At first I was upset, I thought that my life was over, but it had just begun. You see people love to drink, and you can’t always stop people from doing what they love. And so with Prohibition came organized crime. People like Al Capone started making and selling me in huge quantities. At first I was thrilled, I loved all the attention I was getting. Then things started going bad, because with organized crime comes crime, and with crime comes violence. Ever heard of the St. Valentine's Day Massacre? In one night seven people were killed because of me with more then 150 bullets, and one of them was just a mechanic. Places like Chicago became places were guns and money had more of an affect on the justness system there then the law and police. I mean how can you stop the making and selling of illegal liquor when the police both drink and get paid by guys like Capone? I started to hate Prohibition because the quality that people were making me was far less then it was before. Also there was no way for the Government to control me. Before they would put taxes on me and only people of a certain age can buy me. Now anyone could buy me, people like Capone don’t care about age. I was happy when they finally arrested Capone, well mostly because of the way they arrested him. I still am impressed with the idea to arrest him because of his taxes and not because of me. Still it’s not like I hate Capone, I mean he is still human. Did you when the stock market crashed he was one of the first to open soup kitchens? They now have a new museum all about organized crime. It’s called the Mob Museum and from what I herd it shows a good variety of information about both how violent and bloody organized crime is and how the police fought against it, ones they were no longer drunk. After this the government finally started to see that Prohibition was making things worse and was harming the country. So they made a new law, the Twenty-first Amendment. I was legal again! Still it took a long time before people started drinking as much as they did before, and a lot of the legal breweries did not survive Prohibition. Now people drink, and there are still places were I’m not allowed. That’s why I’m here in fact, got lost going the long way around Mississippi. I find the fact that Prohibition still exists today in such large extent confusing. Do you know that there are more drunk driving accidents in dry arias because people drive farther to get to a place were I’m legal? Why are they not releasing that laws against me turn out to cause harm? As I said before people love to drink, and you can’t always stop people from doing what they love.