The "noble experiment" of Prohibition left a lasting impact on the United States of America despite its relatively short existence. The 18th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified in January of 1919 and prohibited the sale, manufacture and transportation of liquor in the United States one year after ratification. The Volstead Act of 1920 enforced the 18th Amendment of the Constitution and began the era of prohibition that concluded in 1933. The issue of alcohol consumption and distribution was a long-standing one in the United States. However, the introduction of Prohibition coupled with the social problems of the time lead to a dark spot in American history. A combination of social problems and Prohibition lead to the rise of organized crime, and organized crimes most feared gangster, Al Capone. This paper will discuss the impact of Prohibition on the United States and the emergence of organized crime, and in particular, Al Capone. .
Prohibition was introduced in the United States for a vast number of reasons. Prohibition was undertaken to reduce crime and corruption, solve social problems, reduce the tax burden created by prisoners and poorhouses, and to improve the health and hygiene in America. Traynor also indicates the entry of America into World War I in 1917 also increased the pressure on the government to introduce a federal ban on alcohol. The problems faced by the nation that lead to the introduction of Prohibition seem far to complex to be solved by a ban on alcohol. However, there was a definite excitement that surrounded Prohibition and the anticipated results of its introduction. This excitement is no more evident that in Reverend Billy Sunday's speech in which he predicted that "the reign of tears is over. The slums will soon be a memory. We will turn our prisons into factories and our jails into storehouses and corncribs. Men will walk upright now, women will smile and children will laugh.