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p. 643. Prohibitionlocked

  • W. J. Rorabaugh

Abstract

January 16, 1920 was the last day that Americans could legally buy a drink before both the Eighteenth Amendment and the Volstead Act went into effect. Whenever a substance is banned, the price goes up and the product returns in a more concentrated form, or a replacement appears. ‘Prohibition’ explains how beer was replaced with distilled spirits; prohibition brought back the very hard liquor that the original temperance movement had despised. Bootleggers supplied imports, home distillation of moonshine increased, prices soared, and criminal gangs quickly gained control of urban distillation. Prohibition did not stop drinking, but it did promote thugs like Al Capone, who both got rich and paid no taxes.

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