The pledge signed by many children and adults to abstain from drinking alcoholic beverages.
Frances Willard died on February 17, 1898, which was 22 years before the 18th amendment, also known as the Volstead Act went into effect in 1920.
She had a firsthand knowledge of the effects of alcohol, when her brother became an alcoholic in the 1860’s. Willard would be one of the founders of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union in 1874 and then became the president of the worldwide WCTU in 1888.
While concentrating mostly on her fight against the use of alcohol, Willard also became active in the fight against the international drug trading.
Her life came to an end at the age of 58 due to being an influenza victim. However, she had laid the groundwork for both the 18th amendment, which would prohibit the use of alcohol in the United States and the 19th Amendment which also was known as the Women’s Suffrage amendment.
Prohibition Becomes Law
Congress passed the Volstead Act (18th Amendment) on October 28, 1919, over-riding the veto of President Woodrow Wilson. 36 of the 50 states had ratified the 18th Amendment and went into effect on January 17, 1920.
While prohibition was a good idea, it was almost impossible to enforce with 30,000 to 100,000 speakeasies, in New York City in 1925. A speakeasy could be closed in one location, then would pop up in another location, within days of last place being closed.
The amendment was not only not being obeyed, but the U.S. government lost millions of dollars in tax revenue, while the bootleggers were keeping all the money for themselves and the speakeasy owners and patrons also avoided paying any tax.
Al Capone's power was at its heights during Prohibition with him drawing $60 million in alcohol sales in 1927 and bribing politicians with his profits to keep his machine going.
Organized crime saw that Prohibition would be a huge moneymaker for them and would deliver the alcohol and take payments, upon delivery of that alcohol, unless other arrangements had been made, prior to the delivery.
Gangsters like Al Capone saw a chance to take their cut from the illicit alcohol sales. Capone raked in $60 million in alcohol sales in 1927.
Prohibition Turns Citizens Into Criminals
The same citizens that patronize legal bars, now flocked to speakeasies to drink their alcohol, which turned them into criminals. The magnitude of lawbreakers was too much for law enforcement to contend with. Women started drinking in larger numbers, than ever before.
These speakeasy patrons from the Prohibition era don't look too concerned about being raided by law enforcement officials.
We have seen videos of the Roaring 20’s, showing women dancing the Charleston and other dance of that era. Problem is that almost all of those women were violating the 18th amendment, but in the PBS series Prohibition, by Ken Burns, these women didn’t seem to be worried about being caught by law enforcement agencies.
Why Prohibition Didn’t Work
The main reason is that Americans who wanted to drink, found ways to purchase alcohol, whether it be from an individual selling from their home, from a speakeasy where alcohol was readily available and some resorted to making their own alcohol through the moonshining process.
Moonshine stills being destroyed by law enforcement officials.
The failure to prevent organized crime, from becoming involved in sale of bootleg alcohol, may have been one of the major reasons, that bootlegging operations were so successful, despite the bootleggers, sometimes only being neighbors supplying moonshine to their neighbors in rural America.
Joseph Kennedy, the father of President John F. Kennedy and the patriarch of the Kennedy family, has been rumored for years to have gotten rich in the bootlegging industry. Frank Costello of the Mafia even testified that Joseph and him had been partners in the bootlegging industry. However, no concrete evidence of Kennedy being involved in bootlegging, has never been made public.
Law enforcement officials could only pick and choose which speakeasies to close and what moonshine stills to destroy, but the problem was that there were thousands of criminals, violating the 18th amendment and there was not enough jails and prisons, to house all the violators.
Prohibition ended when it was evident that there were millions of Americans, who were going willing to risk, although not a serious risk in most cases, going to jail, rather than stop drinking.
75 Bible References Regarding Drinking
The 75 Bible references from the Signal Press in Evanston, Illinois clearly show that God’s laws prohibit drinking. Here are just a few of them from the tract:
1) Genesis 9:20-26 – Noah became drunk; the result was immorality and family trouble.
3) Leviticus 10:9-11 – God commanded priests not to drink so that they could tell the difference between the holy and the unholy.
6) Deuteronomy 29:5-6 – God gave no grape juice to Israel nor did they have intoxicating drink in the wilderness.
10) 1 Samuel 25:32-38 – Nabal died after a drunken spree.
11) 2 Samuel 11:13 – By getting Uriah drunk, David hoped to cover his sin.
12) 2 Samuel 13:28-29 – Amnon was drunk when he was killed.
13) 1 Kings 16:8-10 – The king was drinking himself into drunkenness when he was assassinated
14) 1 Kings 20:12-21 – Ben-Hadad and 32 other kings were drinking when they were attacked and defeated by the Israelites.
17) Proverbs 4:17 – Alcoholic drink is called the wine of violence.
18) Proverbs 20:1 – Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging.
20) Proverbs 23:21 – Drunkenness causes poverty.
21) Proverbs 23:29-30 – Drinking causes woe, sorrow, fighting, babbling, wounds without cause and red eyes.
22) Proverbs 23:31 – God instructs not to look at intoxicating drinks.
23) Proverbs 23:32 – Alcoholic drinks bite like a serpent, sting like an adder.
24) Proverbs 23:33 – Alcohol causes the drinker to have strange and adulterous thoughts, produces wilfulness, and prevents reformation.
There are too many to list them all, but the entire list can be found at: