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Tension in the 1920’s Essay

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 27 May 2018

Tension in the 1920’s

During the 1920’s, the United States saw many large changes made in the country, the largest of which, the ratification of the 18th Amendment and the start of prohibition, was the greatest source of tension during that time period. The 18th Amendment which made the production, transport, and sale of alcohol illegal, upset many people, but was actually never enforced that strictly. Many people could still drink very easily and alcohol was never hard to find.

Although many people think it was a terrible mistake and the government was taking away a simple way for adults to get together and have fun, the government gave them a good amount of time to prepare. As stated in an article by Mark Moore of the New York Times, “The amendment prohibited the commercial manufacture and distribution of alcoholic beverages; it did not prohibit use, nor production for one’s own consumption. Moreover, the provisions did not take effect until a year after passage -plenty of time for people to stockpile supplies”.

People could still produce alcohol for themselves which most already did and talks of prohibition had been going on for years with much support. The citizens of the United States should have taken that time to gather the alcohol they wanted and obtain the supplies needed to produce it. Once again, even though one could not sell alcohol or produce it, it was extremely easy to access, there were extremely large amounts of speakeasies in cities, people could go to Canada or Mexico, or just take a boat three miles out into the ocean where the government had no power.

Although prohibition did not have much of an effect on the consumption of alcohol, the crime rates rose quite quickly and many saw organized crime begin in the country. Many gangs arose in large cities, but in only in Chicago could you find the most powerful gangster, Al Capone. He made millions off of the illegal consumption of alcohol, and although it caused a lot of chaos and disruption, he was giving the people what they wanted.

As said by Capone himself, “All I do is to supply a public demand … somebody had to throw some liquor on that thirst. Why not me? ”. The citizens of the United States yearned for alcohol and Capone gave them what they wanted, but they all suffered the consequences. With gangsters being as powerful as they were at the time, they could influence almost anyone, especially in law enforcement, the court system, and politics.

The rate of homicides per 100,000 population was extremely large and the highest it had ever been. During the war, it was around six to seven, during prohibition it was around seven to ten. Although that may seem like a small number, more people were dying because of the want for alcohol. The 18th Amendment and beginning of prohibition dramatically altered the country in ways good and bad, which made it the greatest source of tension during the 1920’s.

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  • University/College: University of Arkansas System

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