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The Eighteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which prohibited the sale and manufacture of alcohol, was ratified in 1919 and took effect on January 16, 1920. While the amendment provided the constitutional authority for Prohibition, it was the Volstead Act of October 1919 that more clearly defined the parameters and enforcement of federal Prohibition. With the arrival of Prohibition, a new era was born—an era dominated by bootleggers, gangsters, bribery, and political favoritism.
Twentieth-century prohibition in the United States was not the result of a sudden upheaval in the cultural or political conditions of the nation. Concern about the impact of alcohol on Native American culture arose as early as the seventeenth century. In 1784, Dr. Benjamin Rush, in a pamphlet titled An Inquiry into the ...