It is now fewer than 50 days until the return of the ’20s. Will they be Roaring? We shall see. But one thing they are very unlikely to be is alcohol-free.
The same could not be said a century ago. The new decade had barely come in the door when, on January 16, 1920, America’s alcohol went out the window.
The 18th Amendment
The result of a sustained and controversial campaign, the 18th Amendment stipulated that you could not make, sell, or transport alcohol. Or drink it — well, in theory. In practice however, like weeds beneath a paving slab, up spouted illegal operations of all sorts and sizes across the nation. A lot of alcohol was made, and so was a lot of money. And in its wake came organized crime.
Special Prohibition federal agents were tasked with stamping on those alcoholic weeds and went to great lengths to show that this was exactly what they were doing, as you can see below. But frankly, they were wasting their time.
Prohibition remained in place across the entire decade. But it was a categorical failure, and in 1933, the amendment was repealed.
This was actually something of a relief for all, and especially state governments. When alcohol was banned, they lost out big time, tax-wise.