Raise Your Glass to Repeal Day!
Why… because on December 5th 1933, Prohibition ended with the repeal of the Eighteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. While the Eighteenth prohibited the manufacturing, distribution and sale of alcohol, it did not make consumption illegal. The Volstead Act set the guidelines for enforcement, types, and levels of alcohol permitted. The “Noble Experiment” as Prohibition was dubbed, was brought about through the tireless efforts of such groups as the Anti-Saloon League, the Carrie Nation Prohibition Group and the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union, which was also a strong advocate for women’s suffrage.
The day the nation went dry was January 17, 1920 and would bring many changes over the next 13 years.
It was believed by the “dries” that removal of the evil saloon and devil liquor would alter society and improve life in general. However, the altering of society took an unforeseen twist as the Speakeasy flourished and crime rose at alarming rates. Women, not seen in saloons prior to Prohibition, would put on their evening gowns and secretly slip into such notable houses of illegal booze as New York’s 21 Club to sip cocktails, which became the rage during this period. The “wets” found a way to get their hooch, which sometimes proved deadly as gangsters ran the streets and, at times, the law.
Jazz became the soulful sound of Prohibition, swiftly becoming very popular and spreading from New Orleans north to Chicago and New York. Yet another change in society was the effect of mixing black musicians with mostly white crowds at the speakeasies.
As respect for the law lessened, mobsters became rich, and jobs were much needed after the Stock Market Crash of 1929 that brought with it the beginning of the Great Depression, the Twenty-first Amendment, to repeal Prohibition, was proposed and swiftly passed. Supported not only by the vast majority of the populace, the liquor industry, but also many physicians who lobbied on behalf of medicinal liquors, December 5th 1933 marked the day to celebrate the repeal.
One newsreel of the time announced it was projected that over five hundred thousand jobs would be created with the end of Prohibition, to say nothing of the return of much needed taxable revenue.
And as President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the legislation that ended Prohibition he suggested, “I think this would be a good time for a beer.”
So cheers to a day which made raising a glass legal again and ended the wild and tumultuous times of the “Roaring Twenties”.