The prohibition era went down in history as a time of rebellion, fast and loose jazz music, and mob-controlled big business. When the whiskey wells dried up and the spirits were no longer freely flowing due to new countrywide laws, uprisings had become imminent. Bootleggers sprung up everywhere illegally brewing sometimes-deadly concoctions, the cost of alcohol skyrocketed triple-fold, and gangster-related violence was prevalent.
So what led to the prohibition? Several different community influencers, including the church, women, and medical scholars encouraged the ban on alcohol. The reasoning was sparked by various social and economic ideologies. Women reasoned that alcohol was placing a wedge between families. Men would go to bars after work, spending money on alcohol instead of financially contributing to their families. Economically, business owners wanted to prevent immigrant workers from drinking and potentially showing up to work drunkenly.
Communities assumed that once the prohibition was in effect, there would be a drop in crime rate, work industries would boom with fully alert employees, and family households would regain solid structure. Cities were so sure that the prohibition would ultimately better communities that local jailhouses were converted to warehouses.
However, the expectations of prohibition activists went unmet. Instead, mob-controlled nightclubs took over cities, illegally brewed alcohol flowed freely and abundantly in underground speakeasies, and jazz music became an irrevocable part of the epoch.
A rise in violence was also unexpected and unavoidable. The billion-dollar industry created by the prohibition put big mob bosses on the map. Infamous gangsters Al Capone and Lucky Luciano became just as famous as jazz musicians Duke Ellington and Bix Beiderbecke. Crime rose steeply and with it the construction of new federal prisons, ultimately accomplishing nothing that prohibition advocates had hoped for.
To put a halt to the influx of illegal activity, the prohibition came to an end in the 1930’s. The use of alcohol once again became legal, and the popular adage “Drink up!” was legally in full force.