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Today in History with Eva Halloween

December 5, 1933: Prohibition is repealed with the passage of the Twenty-first Amendment

On this day in history in 1933, the Twenty-first Amendment to the US Constitution was passed, effectively ending a nation-wide 14 year  ban on the manufacture, sale and transportation of alcohol. In the 1910’s, national Prohibition had been touted as a social cure-all, saving tax dollars spent on social issues by dramatically reducing crime, poverty, and alcohol-related violence.  This concept was so whole-heartedly embraced that  some towns sold their jails as Prohibition went into effect in 1920. In reality, of course, Prohibition was a spectacular failure on every level, as the country took to illegal production and consumption of hooch with gusto. Al Capone alone is estimated to have made $60,000,000 in 1927 on alcohol sales, with 30,000 speakeasies operating just in New York City during the period. Lost tax revenue from the sale of liquor (as high as $12 billion dollars) and enforcement costs (estimated at $12 billion dollars), coupled with the fear or national moral corruption (again!) spelled the end of national Prohibition in 1933. However, it took another three decades before all state-wide Prohibition laws were repealed  ending with Mississippi in 1966. Today, cocktail snobs and hipsters throw Repeal Day parties on December 5th, serving alcoholic beverages beginning at 9:00pm (the 21st hour).    So put on your best fedora and suspenders and go get blind drunk on whiskey tonight.  It’s not socially irresponsible. It’s history.

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13 Comments

  1. Tim

    oooh i Wanna go to one of those parties!

    Reply
    • Eva Halloween

      Just throw one. As long as you and alcohol both show up, it will be a success. 🙂

      Reply
  2. alex

    Fantastic post (and well-researched!) I shall certainly celebrate by having a few drinks tonight. Granted, this is what I did last night, and what I am likely to do tomorrow night…but today’s drinks will be in the spirit of Repeal Day!

    Reply
    • Eva Halloween

      Thank you, darling. I did come across an article from the January 1928 NY Times about a jury who was put on trial for drinking the evidence in a bootlegging case. Tricky business, that Prohibition.

      Reply
      • alex

        That’s hilarious. Certainly more amusing hijinks than jurors sexting the defendant or somesuch.

        Reply
        • Eva Halloween

          Sexting the defendant? Go on…

          Reply
          • alex

            Okay, I made that up. But it remains untrue only so long as it takes someone to make the mistake of allowing me to serve on a jury.

  3. Acadia Einstein

    You get a raise for using the word “hooch”

    Reply
    • Eva Halloween

      And just when I thought writing for the Gallery couldn’t get any more illustrious.

      Reply
    • Eva Halloween

      Heh. Thanks, love. What did you drink this year?

      Reply
  4. Cornmeal

    Hooray for alcohol!

    Reply
    • Eva Halloween

      This is a holiday worth celebrating.

      Reply

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