What Is the 18th Amendment?


Quick Answer

The 18th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution established a ban on the distribution, trade and manufacturing of alcohol. Thirty-six states ratified the amendment in a little over a year. The amendment began Prohibition in the United States in 1920, and some saw it as a social and moral experiment.

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Full Answer

The U.S. Treasury Department enforced the 18th Amendment through the Volstead Act. The amendment was the result of a movement by religious and women’s groups to reduce crime. Prohibition increased the level of crime and gave prominence to criminal organizations that specialized in supplying alcohol from the black market. Lawmakers repealed the 18th Amendment in 1933 with the passage of the 21st Amendment.

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