The rise and fall of prohibition in the American history.

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Prohibition

The rise and fall of prohibition in the American history.

Janelle Vazquez

Florida international university

FIU

CRTICAL ANALYSIS OF LAST CALL: the Rise and Fall of Prohibition.

A brilliant, authoritative and fascinating book about of America’s 14 year period, from 1920-1933, when the U.S amendment of the constitution to prohibit one of the most favourite pastimes: drinking alcohol. The’ last call’ a book written by Daniel Okrent gives a definition of the rise and fall of the alcohol prohibition. The book contains the contains the effects of alcohol,both for having it and not having it,  and the facts about it.Daniel Okrent  was the first public editor of the New York times, he is a qualified writer since he has written four books in the past. The book gives the impact of the prohibition in the American life during that period.

On January 16, 1920 the day before prohibition became the law of the land, the “dry’s”  were supremely optimistic about the coming days. From this time henceforth natives’ bondage to alcohol was broken. “The reign of tears is over,” evangelist Billy Sunday told a revival meeting in Norfolk, Va. “Men will walk upright now, women will smile, and the children will laugh. Hell will be forever for rent.”

The 18th amendment didn’t so much as change the country’s culture of drinking. The “wets” had their liquor and the “dry’s” had their law. Prohibition attributed to Andrew J, Volsteadn who facilitated the 18th amendment of the constitution has most of the laws weaknesses and omissions attributed to him.  Introduced in May 27, 1919 the bill was passed after a three month debate.” No person shall manufacture, distribute, import, export alcohol” the act replaced all dry legislative measures in force in the various states. The Volstead act though did prohibit the sale of various brands of alcohol, private possession of alcohol and consumption wasn’t made illegal. It faced a lot of hostility from the most of Americans who argued despite the negative effects it was deemed as denying people their rights. Anti-prohibitionist criticized the ban of liquor as an intrusion of mainly rural Protestant ideals on a central aspect of immigrant, catholic everyday life. Lack of an agreement led to the growth of criminal organisations such as the American mafia and generated corruption within politicians in the police forces. The book shows how most of the great leaders were also dependent on alcohol. President Wilson, weakened by the losing fight to keep America within the league of Nations, backed and supported the amendment of the bill (Behr,1996).

While the act was successful in reducing the amount of alcohol consumed it led to the widespread of underground criminal activities Many were astonished and disenchanted with the rise of spectacular gangland crimes (such as Chicago’s St.Valentines massacre), when prohibition was supposed to reduce crime. Prohibition lost its advocates one by one, while the wet opposition talked of personal liberty, new tax revenues from legal beer and liquor, and the scourge of organized crime. The prohibition became a great controversy since it was used by physicians for medication purposes

The last call mainly shows or brings out on the politics of the prohibition. Even in the late 1918s most of the “wets” considered the law as a “dead letter”. Enforced temperance, after all, was a highly unpopular concept in many.

quarters, particularly among city dwellers, immigrants, Catholics, Jews, blacks and an awful lot of native-born white Protestant males. Okrent shows how the dry forces — led by powerful interest groups like the Anti-Saloon League — overcame this stiff opposition, cobbling together an unlikely coalition of rural populists, urban progressives, women and nativists (even the KKK), all of whom had their own peculiar reasons for wanting to see the demise of legal alcohol. In the end, aided by a ratification process that gave disproportionate weight to voters in rural states, the “dry’s” managed to push their amendment through — to the amazement of wets nationwide. The end of all this came when president Roosevelt redefine the law to by legalizing selling of liquor not more than 3.2% alcohol ( Towne , 1923).

Through it all Americans went to greater lengths to smuggle, conceal, and to imbibe their favourite drink. Last call is peopled with.............


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