On December 5th 1933, the 21st
amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified. This brought an end
to the nationwide prohibition of alcohol in the United States. Utah was the
deciding vote as the 36th state, which met the requirements of the
three-fourths majority approval.
The adverse affects of alcohol are what initially brought on
the push to prohibit its sale early in the 19th century. On December
1917, the 18th amendment of the United States Constitution was
passed. The 18th amendment prohibits the “manufacture, sale, or
transportation of liquors for beverage purposes”. The amendment did not
officially become effective until January 29, 1920. It was not until January
29, 1919 that the 18th amendment achieved the necessary
three-fourths majority of state ratification.
While the 18th amendment was being put in place,
the Volsted Act made it possible to legally enforce prohibition by shutting
down illegal distilleries and bootleggers. The Volsted Act was only effective
for a short period of time. The flow of liquors was too heavy and had
eventually propped up a large criminalized industry. Organized crime figures
such as Al Capone built their empire during this time period. Too powerful an
industry to stop, it eventually became largely tolerated. The term speakeasy arose from this era, which is
a prohibition term meaning “saloon”.
The unpopularity of prohibition, which failed to enforce
sobriety and cost billions of dollars, eventually led to the repeal of the 18th
amendment with the ratification of the 21st amendment.