December 18 - 1917 - The Eighteenth Amendment Passes Congress

The Eighteenth Amendment officially banned the sale and manufacture of intoxicating liquors, and more strikingly came about quite quickly. The measure sped through Congress in a matter of months, from August to December of 1917. In a radical measure, the language of the Amendment said it was required to be passed within seven years, or it could not be ratified. This made the drama around its ratification by the states a little more intriguing. On the other hand, the political landscape was ripe for such actions. Under the leadership of Wayne Wheeler, the Anti-Saloon League had mobilized around the single issue of prohibition. The Anti-Saloon League was the politically engaged part of the longstanding temperance movement, and had so mobilized temperance activists that Wheeler could guarantee anyone opposing Prohibition would be voted out of office. Many people also were not bothered because they thought there would only be prohibition of liquor, not beer, wine, or cider. So the Eighteenth Amendment sped through the states and came into being by 1920.

William Floyd