Study Guide

Constitution - 18th Amendment

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18th Amendment

Passed by Congress: 18 December 1917
Ratified: 16 January 1919
Repealed by 21st Amendment: 5 December 1933

Section 1. After one year from the ratification of this article the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors within, the importation thereof into, or the exportation thereof from the United States and all territory subject to the jurisdiction thereof for beverage purposes is hereby prohibited.

Section 2. The Congress and the several States shall have concurrent power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

Section 3. This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of the several States, as provided in the Constitution, within seven years from the date of the submission hereof to the States by the Congress.

The Eighteenth Amendment was one of the most notorious failures of attempted social engineering in American history. Many Progressive reformers believed that alcohol was the root of much, if not all, evil in American society, and sought to end that evil by simply banning the production and sale of liquor. Prohibition against alcohol led, instead, to a huge black market in bootleg liquor, with the profits of illegal booze-selling flowing to infamous gangsters like Al Capone. After less than 15 years of Prohibition, Congress passed the Twenty-first Amendment Amendment, fully overturning the Eighteenth, in 1933.

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