Q:

Why was the 18th Amendment important?

A:

Quick Answer

The 18th Amendment, which began the Prohibition era with the outlawing of alcohol, opened the doors to organized crime during the 1920s, overwhelming law enforcement prior to the amendment's repeal in 1933. This was the only American constitutional amendment to be repealed in its entirety.

Know More
Why was the 18th Amendment important?
Credit: TS Photography Photographer's Choice Getty Images

Full Answer

The 18th Amendment took effect on Jan. 17, 1920, after years of lobbying by the progressive temperance movement. Women were the prime movers behind both temperance and women's suffrage and viewed the elimination of alcohol as a key women's-rights issue.

While in the early days of Prohibition alcohol consumption and alcohol-related crime decreased, the demand for alcohol that still existed empowered crime bosses to organize networks for the production and smuggling of alcohol. Safety standards for liquor became nonexistent. While, according to the U.S. Department of Justice, crime overall decreased, the nature of crime did change. Homicides related to organized crime skyrocketed, and more people were incarcerated than ever before. The Volstead Act, enacted to help enforce Prohibition, proved to be nearly unenforceable.

After a decade of intensifying organized crime and then the crushing burden of the Great Depression, America decided Prohibition was not worth the cost. On Dec. 5, 1933, state conventions overwhelmingly voted to pass the 21st Amendment repealing Prohibition.

Learn more about The Constitution

Related Questions

  • Q:

    What is the 28th Amendment?

    A:

    As of December 2014, only 27 constitutional amendments exist, though many different versions of a 28th Amendment have been suggested. At different times, overwhelming majorities in several states have passed their own versions of the 28th Amendment, but none have been ratified.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is the Fourth Amendment?

    A:

    The Fourth Amendment is the amendment that protects American citizens from unlawful search and seizure, including in their homes. This amendment also outlines the requirements associated with obtaining warrants and the ability to monitor communications through wiretaps.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    Why is the 25th Amendment important?

    A:

    According to Cornell University Law School, the 25th Amendment is considered important because it established succession in case the President of the United States dies, resigns, is impeached or is otherwise unable to fulfill his duties. Prior to the 25th Amendment, there were only vague rules that explained what to do if the office needed filling in the middle of a president's term.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What was the 21st Amendment?

    A:

    The 21st Amendment, an addendum to the original Constitution, repealed the 18th Amendment. The 18th Amendment prohibited the sale, distribution and manufacturing of alcoholic beverages. The 18th Amendment began the era of Prohibition, but the 21st Amendment ended it.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore