Prohibition agents destroying barrels of alcohol
The Prohibition Era was a period between 1920 and 1933 when the 18th Amendment to the Constitution was in effect. This amendment prohibited the manufacture, sale, and transport of alcohol in the United States.
For decades leading up to the passage of the 18th Amendment, reform groups within the temperance movement had worked to eliminate alcohol consumption, which they believed was the cause of many ills in American society. By late 1917, there was enough support in Congress to pass the amendment. However, because the language of the 18th Amendment was broad, the National Prohibition Act (also known as the Volstead Act) was passed in late 1919 to provide the specifics of alcohol regulation and enforcement. Prohibition started in 1920, after the amendment was ratified by the states.
Though Prohibition did see an overall decline in alcohol consumption in America, it had many unintended effects. For example, it led to the rise of a black-market alcohol industry of bootleggers and smugglers, which strengthened organized crime syndicates and increased gang violence. Gangsters like Al Capone became household names during this time.
Finally, during the Great Depression, the tide turned against Prohibition. In 1932, Congress passed the 21st Amendment to repeal it. The amendment was quickly ratified by the states, with the final repeal vote cast by Utah on December 5, 1933.
Learn more about Prohibition through historical newspapers from our archives. Explore newspaper articles, headlines, images, and other primary sources below.
Clippings about Prohibition
The Woman's Christian Temperance Union fights for Prohibition Sat, Jan 2, 1897 – Page 15 · Democrat and Chronicle (Rochester, New York) · Newspapers.comAnti-Saloon League is called "the most potent organization in politics" Thu, Nov 18, 1909 – Page 4 · Los Angeles Herald (Los Angeles, California) · Newspapers.comBiography of Carrie Nation, famous for smashing up saloons with an ax Thu, Jan 19, 1911 – Page 5 · The Wichita Beacon (Wichita, Kansas) · Newspapers.comProhibition is ratified by the states Thu, Jan 16, 1919 – 1 · The Evening Sun (Baltimore, Maryland) · Newspapers.comPolitical Cartoon: "Bone Dry" Thu, Jan 16, 1919 – Page 1 · Evansville Press (Evansville, Indiana) · Newspapers.comProhibition goes into effect Sat, Jan 17, 1920 – Page 11 · The Cincinnati Enquirer (Cincinnati, Ohio) · Newspapers.comThe effects of Prohibition after two years Sun, Jan 29, 1922 – Page 32 · The Ogden Standard-Examiner (Ogden, Utah) · Newspapers.comAl Capone Fri, Jul 6, 1928 – Page 1 · The St. Louis Star and Times (St. Louis, Missouri) · Newspapers.comWoman gives speech in support of repealing Prohibition Tue, Oct 21, 1930 – Page 2 · The Akron Beacon Journal (Akron, Ohio) · Newspapers.comProhibition ends with ratification of 21st Amendment Wed, Dec 6, 1933 – 1 · The Baltimore Sun (Baltimore, Maryland) · Newspapers.comUtah newspaper coverage of the ratification of the 21st Amendment, ending Prohibition, 1933 Wed, Dec 6, 1933 – 1 · The Salt Lake Tribune (Salt Lake City, Utah) · Newspapers.com