Tuesday, September 23, 2014



Knoxville, Tennessee (JFK+50) Today we continue a review of the ten most popular posts of our JFK+50 blog since we began in November 2010.  This review will include updates and revisions of the original posts. 

Thanks to all our visitors worldwide.


January 16, 2011, Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) The 18th Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified by the 36th and deciding state of Nebraska ninety-two years ago today, January 16, 1919.

The amendment, which prohibited the manufacture, sale or transport of intoxicating liquors, took effect on January 17, 1920.

On January 8, 1918, Mississippi became the first state to ratify the 18th Amendment.  In addition to the amendment, Congress passed the National Prohibition Act (a.k.a. Volstead Act) on October 28, 1919 which provided for enforcement of prohibition.

Prohibition in the United States can be traced back to the reform movements of the 1840s.  The Temperance Movement encouraged people to stop or reduce their imbibing of alcoholic beverages. 

The movement was supported by Methodists, Baptists, Presbyterians, Disciples of Christ and Congregationalists.  Kansas and Maine passed prohibition laws and by 1913, a total of nine states had statewide prohibition.

The Womens Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) was founded in 1874 and the Anti-Saloon League in 1895.

Opposition to prohibition was strong in the cities where large numbers of the immigrant working classes enjoyed their liquor.


Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) On March 2nd, 1929, the Congress of the United States passed the Jones Act which strengthened federal penalties for bootlegging.

Since prohibition had gone into effect in 1920 by the 18th Amendment to the US Constitution, enforcement of the provision banning the consumption of drinking alcohol had been difficult if not impossible.

The 18th Amendment was repealed in 1933 and prohibition went down in history as a failure.

Prohibition Raid
Elk Lake, Canada
by C.H.J. Snider 

Prohibition (1920-1933) had been called the "noble experiment."  According to Mark Thornton of the CATO INSTITUTE, its purpose was to...

"reduce crime and corruption, solve social problems, reduce the tax burden created by prisons...and to improve health and hygiene."

The results, however, again according to Mr. Thornton, made alcohol dangerous to drink, increased crime and resulted in "organized" crime, and "stretched to the breaking point" the prison system.  It also contributed to "rampant" corruption of public officials.

As was said later by a San Francisco flapper of the 1920s, a legislator joining her in drinking at a speakeasy told her...

"We make the laws in the daytime, and break them at night."


"Alcohol Prohibition Was a Failure," by Mark Thornton, July 17, 1991.  Policy Analysis #157, CATO Institute,