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The Twenties
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The Roaring Twenties Key Events Maps Transcript Webography

Page 123456

The Effects of Prohibition

You Decide:  How would you describe the 1920s?  Did they 'Roar' or was it just a big 'Yawn'?
photo of U.S. officials destroying liquor at the Brownsville, Texas Customs House, December 20, 1920

The 18th Amendment to the Constitution ushered in an era of Prohibition, which outlawed the sale and consumption of alcohol. Still, many Americans found ways to imbibe illegally. They went to speakeasies, private clubs that provided entertainment and liquor. Others bought illegal whiskey and beer from bootleggers. Popular movies and novels about the 1920s make it look like one big happy party of booze, jazz, and good times.

Yet very few people actually made gin in their bathtubs. While movies about the 1920s often depict excessive use of illegal alcohol, per capita consumption of alcohol actually dropped from 2.6 gallons per person pre-Prohibition in 1910 to less than a gallon per person post-Prohibition in 1934. Prohibition helped change America's drinking habits.

So how would you describe the 1920s?  Did they 'Roar' or was it just a big 'Yawn?'


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