Alcohol Consumption in America Before and During Prohibition

1. Alcohol consumption in America before and during prohibition

In the early days of American history, alcohol was an integral part of everyday life. It was consumed by people of all social backgrounds, including George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. In the 18th and early 19th centuries, Americans drank more alcohol per capita than any other nation in the world (Okrent 2010, p. 3).

There were a number of factors that contributed to this high level of consumption. First, alcohol was relatively cheap and easily available. Second, it was often seen as a safer alternative to water, which could be contaminated with disease. Third, many people believed that alcohol had medicinal properties and could be used to treat a variety of ailments.

As American society began to change in the late 19th century, however, attitudes towards alcohol started to shift. A number of factors contributed to this change, including the rise of the middle class, the growth of cities, and the influx of immigrants from countries where temperance was the norm. These changes led to the rise of the temperance movement, which advocated for a reduction in alcohol consumption.

In response to this growing movement, a number of states enacted laws prohibiting the sale of alcohol. These laws were typically enforced by local officials, who were often corrupt and ineffective. As a result, they had little impact on overall consumption levels.

The federal government first got involved in the issue of alcohol regulation in 1890 with the passage of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act. This act banned monopolies and trusts, which were seen as a major threat to competition and thus, to economic growth. One of the trusts that was targeted by the act was the American Tobacco Company, which was controlled by a handful of wealthy businessmen known as The Seven Sisters.

In response to this act, the tobacco companies decided to diversify their businesses by investing in distilleries and breweries. This allowed them to increase their production levels and sell their products at lower prices. As a result, consumption levels increased dramatically.

The federal government responded to this increase in consumption by passing the Pure Food and Drug Act in 1906. This act required companies to list ingredients on labels and banned the sale of adulterated or mislabeled products. The act also created the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which was responsible for enforcing these regulations.

While the Pure Food and Drug Act had a significant impact on preventing adulterated products from being sold, it did not address the issue of alcohol abuse directly. In response to this problem, Congress passed the Eighteenth Amendment in 1918, which prohibited the manufacture, sale, transport, importation, and exportation of alcoholic beverages. The amendment went into effect in 1920.

3. The enforcement of prohibition and the challenges faced

4 The impact of prohibition on society, includingthe riseoforganized crime 5The repealofprohibitionand its legacy 6 Conclusion


The primary reason for the enactment of Prohibition in the United States was to reduce crime and corruption, and to improve public morals.

Prohibition affected alcohol consumption in the United States by making it illegal to manufacture, transport, or sell alcoholic beverages.

Some of the unintended consequences of Prohibition were an increase in organized crime, a decrease in tax revenue, and an increase in public drunkenness.

Prohibition was eventually repealed because it was ineffective at reducing crime and corruption, and because it caused a number of social problems.

The lessons that can be learned from the experience of Prohibition in the United States include the importance of effective law enforcement, the need for public support for laws, and the dangers of over-criminalization.