Definitions

Prohibition

Prohibition

[proh-uh-bish-uhn]

Legal prevention of the manufacture, sale, or transportation of alcoholic beverages. In the U.S., the Prohibition movement arose out of the religious revivalism of the 1820s. Maine passed the first state Prohibition law in 1846, ushering in a wave of such state legislation. The drive toward national Prohibition was fueled by the Anti-Saloon League, founded in 1893. With Prohibition already adopted in 33 states, the 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution went into effect in 1920. Prohibition was embraced with varying degrees of enthusiasm in different parts of the country, and enforced accordingly. In urban areas, bootlegging gave rise to organized crime, with such gangsters as Al Capone. In part because of the rise in crime, its supporters gradually became disenchanted with it. The 21st Amendment repealed the 18th in 1933, and by 1966 all states had also abandoned Prohibition.

Learn more about Prohibition with a free trial on Britannica.com.

Prohibition of alcohol, often referred to simply as prohibition, also known as Noble Experiment, refers to a sumptuary law which prohibits alcohol. Typically, the manufacture, transportation, import, export, and sale of alcoholic beverages is restricted or illegal. The term can also apply to the periods in the histories of the countries during which the prohibition of alcohol was enforced. Use of the term as applicable to a historical period is typically applied to countries of European culture. In some countries of the Muslim World, consumption of alcoholic beverages is forbidden according to Islamic Law — though the strictness by which this prohibition was and is enforced varies considerably between various Islamic countries and various periods in their history.

In the early twentieth century, much of the impetus for the prohibition movement in the Nordic countries and North America came from Protestant wariness of alcohol.

The first half of the 20th century saw periods of prohibition of alcoholic beverages in several countries:

North America

Nordic countries

The Nordic countries, with the exception of Denmark, have had a long temperance tradition. Prohibition was enforced in Iceland from 1915 to 1922 (with beer prohibited until 1989), in Norway from 1916 to 1927 and in Finland between 1919 and 1932. Sweden enforced a rationing system (Brattsystemet or "motboken") between 1914 and 1955; a referendum in 1922 rejected total prohibition. Alcohol was still prohibited in the Faroe Islands until 1992. Nordic countries today, with the exception of Denmark, strictly control the sale of alcohol. There are government monopolies in place for selling liquors, wine and stronger beers to consumers, in Norway (Vinmonopolet), Sweden (Systembolaget), Iceland (Vínbúðin) and Finland (Alko). Corporations, like bars and restaurants, may import alcoholic beverages directly or through other companies. The temperance movement in Scandinavia (parts of which are affiliated with the International Organisation of Good Templars), which advocates strict government regulations concerning the consumption of alcohol, have seen a decline in membership numbers and activity during the past years but are now on the rise again, in example Swedish IOGT-NTO having a net gain of 12,500 members in 2005.

Russia and Soviet Union

In the Russian Empire, a limited version of a Dry Law was introduced in 1914. It continued through the turmoil of the Russian Revolution of 1917 and the Russian Civil War into the period of Soviet Russia and the Soviet Union until 1925.

Middle East, North Africa, and Central Asia

Alcohol is prohibited in some Muslim countries because of Quranic cautions against the drink:

"Shaitân (Satan) wants only to excite enmity and hatred between you with intoxicants (alcoholic drinks) and gambling, and hinder you from the remembrance of Allâh (God) and from As-Salât (the prayer). So, will you not then abstain?"

"They ask you (O Muhammad) concerning alcoholic drink and gambling. Say: "In them is a great sin, and (some) benefit for men, but the sin of them is greater than their benefit." And they ask you what they ought to spend. Say: "That which is beyond your needs." Thus Allâh makes clear to you His Laws in order that you may give thought."

Saudi Arabia completely bans the production, importation or consumption of alcohol and imposes strict penalties on those violating the ban, including weeks to months of imprisonment, and possible lashes, as does Kuwait. During the Gulf War in 1991, the Coalition banned its troops in Saudi Arabia from drinking alcohol in order to show respect for local beliefs.

Qatar bans the importation of alcohol and it is a punishable offense to drink alcohol or be drunk in public. Offenders may incur a prison sentence or deportation. Alcohol is, however, available at licensed hotel restaurants and bars, and expatriates living in Qatar can obtain alcohol on a permit system.

The United Arab Emirates does not restrict the purchase of alcohol from a liquor store to non-Muslim foreigners who have residence permits and who have an Interior Ministry liquor license.

Alcohol was first permitted in Bahrain, known to be the most progressive Persian Gulf state and the earliest to prosper, popular with those crossing the causeway from Saudi Arabia.

Iran began restricting alcohol consumption and production soon after the 1979 Revolution, with harsh penalties meted out for violations of the law. However, there is widespread violation of the law. Officially recognized non-Muslim minorities are allowed to produce alcoholic beverages for their own private consumption and for religious rites such as the Eucharist.

Alcohol was banned in Afghanistan during the rule of the Taliban. In the wake of the ousting from power of the Taliban, the ban was lifted for foreigners, who can buy alcohol in certain shops on presentation of their passport to prove they are foreigners.

Libya bans the import, sale and consumption of alcohol, with heavy penalties for offenders. Tunisia has a selective ban on alcohol products other than wine, with consumption and sale being allowed in special zones or bars "for tourists" and in big cities Wine, however, is widely available. Morocco prohibits the sale of alcohol during Ramadan

Sudan has banned all alcohol consumption and extends serious penalties to offenders.

Many other Arab or mainly Muslim countries such as Egypt and Turkey do not have any ban on alcohol and production as well as consumption are legal, under the provision that minors below the age of 18 cannot legally purchase alcoholic beverages. In Turkey the sale of alcoholic beverages was prohibited during general elections.

South Asia

Some states of India are dry, for example the states of Gujarat and Mizoram. Certain national holidays such as Independence Day and Gandhi Jayanti (birthdate of Mahatma Gandhi) are meant to be dry nationally. The state of Andhra Pradesh had imposed Prohibition under the Chief Ministership of N.T.Rama Rao but this was thereafter lifted.

Pakistan allowed the free sale and consumption of alcohol for three decades from 1947, but restrictions were introduced by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto just weeks before he was removed as prime minister in 1977. Since then, only members of non-Muslim minorities such as Hindus, Christians and Zoroastrians are allowed to apply for permits for alcohol. The monthly quota depends on their income but is usually about five bottles of liquor or 100 bottles of beer. In a country of 140 million, only about 60 outlets are allowed to sell alcohol and there is only one legal brewery, Murree Brewery in Rawalpindi. Enforced by the country's Islamic Ideology Council, the ban is strictly policed. However, members of religious minorities often sell their liquor permits to Muslims and a black market trade in alcohol continues.

Bangladesh has also imposed prohibition, though some hotels and restaurants are licensed to sell alcohol to foreigners. Foreigners (but not locals) are allowed to import small quantities of alcohol for personal use.

The Maldives ban the import of alcohol. Alcoholic beverages are available only to foreign tourists on resort islands and may not be taken off the resort.

Southeast Asia

Thailand bans the selling of alcohol during the afternoon to prevent schoolchildren from buying alcohol. The electronic cashiers of supermarkets and convenience stores are programmed not to accept alcoholic beverages during this time, but cashiers frequently circumvent the register restrictions by scanning a non-alcoholic item of equal value.

In Brunei alcohol consumption in public is banned and there is no sale of alcohol. Non-Muslims are allowed to purchase a limited amount of alcohol from their point of embarkation overseas for their own private consumption. Non-Muslims over 17 years of age may be allowed to bring in not more than two bottles of liquor (about two quarts) and twelve cans of beer per person into the country.

Australia

Alcohol is prohibited in many remote indigenous communities across Australia. Penalties for transporting alcohol into these "dry" communities are severe and can result in confiscation of any vehicles involved; in dry areas within the Northern Territory, all vehicles used to transport alcohol are seized and there is no right of appeal.

Because alcohol consumption has been known to lead to violence, some communities sought a safer alternative in substances such as kava, especially in the Northern Territory. Over-indulgence in kava causes sleepiness, rather than the violence that can result from over-indulgence in alcohol. These and other measures to counter alcohol abuse met with variable success, with some communities seeing decreased social problems and others reporting no decreases. The ANCD study notes that in order to be effective, programs in general need also to address "...the underlying structural determinants that have a significant impact on alcohol and drug misuse" (Op. cit., p.26). The Federal government banned kava imports into the Northern Territory in 2007.

There have been various places proclaimed alcohol free in the past, including Australia's capital city, Canberra, which was dry from 1910 to 1928. The American born politician King O'Malley ran this legislation through Federal Parliament in Melbourne at the time the capital territory was established. When Federal Parliament moved from Melbourne to Canberra in 1927, one of the first pieces of legislation passed in the new Parliament House was the repeal of O'Malley's prohibition laws.

A number of Melbourne's suburbs had a long running prohibition on the sale (though not consumption) of alcohol. One or two still exist, including the Camberwell region of Boroondara. Ascot Vale was founded as a dry suburb, but hotels were soon built at the outside corners of the settlement.

Similarly, the irrigation settlement of Mildura was also founded with a prohibition on the sale of alcohol in 1887. This was inaugurated by its founders, the Chaffey brothers. However, the brothers also operated a winery, even producing fortified wine. Alcohol was readily available from nearby Wentworth however, and the ban was eventually lifted.

References

Further reading

  • Susanna Barrows, Robin Room, and Jeffrey Verhey (eds.), The Social History of Alcohol: Drinking and Culture in Modern Society (Berkeley, Calif: Alcohol Research Group, 1987)
  • Susanna Barrows and Robin Room (eds.), Drinking: Behavior and Belief in Modern History University of California Press, 1991
  • Jack S. Blocker, David M. Fahey, and Ian R. Tyrrell eds. Alcohol and Temperance in Modern History: An International Encyclopedia 2 Vol. (2003)
  • JS Blocker, Jr. "Did prohibition really work? Alcohol prohibition as a public health innovation." Am J Public Health. 2006 Feb;96(2):233-43. Epub 2005 27 December.
  • Ernest Cherrington, ed., Standard Encyclopaedia of the Alcohol Problem 6 volumes (1925-1930), comprehensive international coverage to late 1920s
  • Jessie Forsyth Collected Writings of Jessie Forsyth 1847-1937: The Good Templars and Temperance Reform on Three Continents ed by David M. Fahey (1988)
  • Gefou-Madianou. Alcohol, Gender and Culture (European Association of Social Anthropologists) (1992)
  • Dwight B. Heath, ed; International Handbook on Alcohol and Culture Greenwood Press, 1995
  • Patricia Herlihy; The Alcoholic Empire: Vodka & Politics in Late Imperial Russia Oxford University Press, 2002
  • Sulkunen, Irma. History of the Finnish Temperance Movement: Temperance As a Civic Religion (1991)
  • Tyrrell, Ian; Woman's World/Woman's Empire: The Woman's Christian Temperance Union in International Perspective, 1880-1930 U of North Carolina Press, 1991
  • White, Helene R. (ed.), Society, Culture and Drinking Patterns Reexamined (New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers Center of Alcohol Studies, 1991).
  • White, Stephen.Russia Goes Dry: Alcohol, State and Society (1995)
  • Robert S. Walker and Samuel C. Patterson, OKLAHOMA GOES WET: THE REPEAL OF PROHIBITION (McGraw-Hill Book Co. Eagleton Institute Rutgers University 1960).
  • Samuel C. Patterson and Robert S. Walker, "The Political Attitudes of Oklahoma Newspapers Editors: The Prohibition Issue," The Southwestern Social Science Quarterly 1961.

See also

External links

Search another word or see Prohibitionon Dictionary | Thesaurus |Spanish
Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature
FAVORITES
RECENT

;