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America's History in the Making

Resource Archive: Search Results

Prohibition "Bust"

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Harry M. Rhoads, PROHIBITION "BUST" (1920). Courtesy of the Western History/Genealogy Department, Denver Public Library.

Creator Harry M. Rhoads
Context Prohibition
Audience The public watched law enforcement open cases of liquor from the Blue Valley Distillery Company.
Purpose To show prohibition busts

Historical Significance

Some reformers waged a campaign for the prohibition of alcohol. In 1918, about three-quarters of the country lived in "dry" counties or states. A year later, Congress passed the Volstead Act, which banned the brewing and selling of beverages containing more than one-half percent alcohol. By June 1919, states ratified the Eighteenth Amendment that prohibited the sale, manufacture, and transportation of liquor within the United States. During Prohibition, nationally there were fewer arrests for drunkenness and the death rate due to alcoholism declined, but those who wanted to consume alcohol managed to with the help of bootlegging rings, speakeasies, and home brew. Enforcing the legislation became more difficult as organized crime flourished with the illegal sale of alcohol. The experiment to legislate moral reform ended with the repeal of the Eighteenth Amendment in 1933.

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