Prohibition was a time in American in which the sale, manufacture, and transportation of alchohol was illegal. It lasted from 1920 to 1933.
The 18th Amendment to the Constitution prohibiting the manufacture, sale, or transportation of alcohol in America went into effect on January 16, 1920. The United States was now officially "dry" from coast to coast.
The advocates of Prohibition had waged a 50-year campaign to ban alcohol and had high hopes for this "The Noble Experiment." Supporters thought that banning alcohol would end poverty while simultaneously enabling the common man to achieve his highest goals. To carry out the intent of the amendment, Congress passed the National Prohibition Act, better known as the Volstead Act. The Volstead Act allowed supplies of alcohol to be produced and transported for scientific and other commercial purposes. It also defined an intoxicating liquor as any beverage containing more than 0.5 percent alcohol. It could have set the permissible level higher to allow the production, transportation, and sale of beer, but it did not.
For the next fourteen years much time, money and manpower would be devoted to enforcement, however, the task proved too hard. "Rum fleets" filled with liquor from Europe appeared off the Atlantic coast. As many as sixteen ships at a time would lie at anchor just outside U.S. territorial waters while smaller boats went to safe harbors. They only had to be three miles away from U.S. land and nothing could be done to stop them. This flaw was widely abused by people who owned their own boats and even on some boats that were state owned.
Smuggling alcohol across the Canadian border was a way that people would use because it was so large. They had houses that were on both sides of the border that were connected underground. A lot of these houses weren’t found until after the prohibition was repealed in 1933.
One consequence of Prohibition was an increase in crime because of bootlegging. Many bootleggers became quite wealthy. Organized crime enterprises that were already established before the prohibition decided to take advantage of the prohibition and make and sell their own alcohol. Some of these enterprises later became involved with trafficking illegal drugs. One of the most notorious figures of the era was Al Capone, a central player in Chicago's organized crime bracket.
Whisky was available for people that had a prescription. Most doctors would give them out freely. The amount of alcohol consumed reached over a million gallons a year during the prohibition. Nobody really made an attempt to stop them from exploiting the use of prescription alcohol. So it continued until the prohibition was ended by the 21st amendment.
"Prohibition in the United States." 1920-30.com. 04 Feb. 2009 <http://www.1920-30.com/prohibition/>.
Poholek, Catherine H. "Thirteen Years That Damaged America." Geocities.com. 5 Mar. 2009 <http://www.geocities.com/Athens/troy/4399/>.