Prohibition in the United States was a nationwide constitutional ban on the production, importation, transportation, and sale of alcoholic beverages that remained in place from 1920 to 1933.
During the 19th century, alcoholism, family violence and political corruption have prompted some activists to stand up against the trade in alcoholic beverages to cure sick society. One result was that many communities in the late 19th and early 20th centuries introduced the ban on alcohol, with subsequent law enforcement becoming a matter that was strongly debated.
Despite the very early signs of success, including the reduction in alcohol-related arrests and the reported drop in alcohol consumption, those who wanted to continue drinking have found more and more inventive ways to do so. The illegal manufacturing and sale of liquor (known as “bootlegging”) went on throughout the decade, along with the operation of “speakeasies” (stores or nightclubs selling alcohol).
Moreover, the era of prohibition encouraged the rise in criminal activity linked with bootlegging. The most striking example was Chicago’s gangster Al Capone, who earned tens of millions of dollars a year from bootleg operations and speakeasies! Such illegal acts fueled a corresponding increase in violence between gangs.
The significant loss of taxes that could be generated from alcohol, the dramatic increase in the illicit production, and the reduction of the groups against this ban, led to the abolition of the prohibition in 1933.