Today in Legal History: Volstead Act Passed

The Volstead Act, more popularly known as prohibition, was passed on October 28, 1919.  It was named after Andrew Volstead, the congressman who sponsored the legislation. While at first bans on alcohol were attempted on a state level, it soon became a national movement.

It only took 13 months for the states to ratify the 18th Amendment. To some degree, prohibition worked; illegal alcohol became unaffordable for the common factory worker. On the other hand, prohibition also struck a chord of rebellion with otherwise law abiding citizens who chose to defy prohibition. Prohibition also made men like Al Capone rich and strengthened organized crime. On December 5, 1933, the 21st Amendment was ratified, repealing the 18th Amendment.

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