Prohibition was written into law with the passage of the 18th Amendment on January 16, 1920. The period lasted almost 14 years, until December 5, 1933, when the law was repealed in the 21st Amendment. The "Noble Experiment," as prohibition was called, was a time of gangsters, speakeasies, and bootleggers. Temperance movements, beginning almost 100 years earlier, and supported by churches, the Anti-Saloon League, and the Women's Christian Temperance Union, formed a strong voice against alcohol in the United States. The Volstead Act, passed in 1919, was the first step towards the passage of Prohibition.


1. Temperance Movements

The temperance movements began in the early 1800s. The movements were backed by a mix of religious revivalists in search of a perfect nation, including Progressive reformers, and women suffragists, who believed that alcohol was destroying their families and finances. Business owners also backed the ideal as industry boomed. They wanted to ensure their workers were sober and putting in a hard day's work.

Prohibition temperance movement Cannasue / Getty Images

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