FDR Ends Prohibition: The Immediate Aftermath And How The U.S. Settled Into Normalcy

By | March 19, 2020

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View of men and women celebrating the repeal of Prohibition with a toast and bell-ringing, Chicago, 1933. (Chicago History Museum/Getty Images)

Prohibition has been called the great national experiment, and it was decidedly one that failed. It started winding down on March 22, 1933, when FDR signed the Beer and Wine Revenue Act that allowed the sale of these "soft" alcohols as long as the money went to the feds, and ended completely later that year, when the 21st Amendment was ratified to repeal Prohibition. After more than 13 years, Americans could finally raise a glass of their favorite adult beverage and take a legal drink. Let's look at the end of Prohibition and how the United States returned to normalcy. 

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Prohibition began with the 18th Amendment. (cnbc.com)

Why Was Prohibition Even A Thing?

Various groups, most notably early feminist organizations, had been pushing Congress for a nationwide ban on alcohol for decades. They claimed that husbands were squandering their paychecks at the bars, leaving their wives and children destitute, and that was when the devil's juice wasn't driving the men to violence. Crime, overcrowded prisons, poverty, poor hygiene, and infectious diseases were all blamed on the consumption of alcohol. Prohibiting the production and sale of liquor, so they claimed, would greatly reduce the social problems of the country.