The 21st amendment of the United States Constitution was proposed and put into action by Congress and Franklin D. Roosevelt. It was officially ratified on December 5th, 1933. There were many reasons the 21st amendment was created. In 1920, prohibition movements reached the highest because during this period Congress ratified the 18th amendment, which prohibited the manufacture, transportation, and sale of alcohol. The purpose of enforcing the 18th amendment was to help reduce crime and corruption, solve social issues, and improve health and hygiene in America. However, the effects of the 18th amendment were the opposite of it was originally supposed to do. For example, it led to the illegal production and sale of alcohol which was known as bootlegging. Also, more organized crime was another result of the amendment. Small-time operators were eventually facing competition from organized crime. Criminal mobs fought each other for market control using murder and violence. Bootleggers ended up making their alcohol products carelessly. These products often contained lead toxins, creosote, and even embalming fluid. As a result, consumers sometimes had blindness, paralysis, and even painful death. These negative impacts on bootlegging led many drinkers to switch to more dangerous substances such as cocaine, opium, hair tonic, and sterno (“liquid heat”). These people would have unlikely consumed these substances if prohibition was absent.
Corruption wise, bootleggers and moonshiners found it necessary to payoff police, sheriffs, and Prohibition Bureau agents which was a business cost. In many towns and cities corruption reached police chiefs, prosecutors, mayors, magistrates, city council members, city commissioners, and others. The widespread corruption of officials produced disrespect for law and prohibition. If bribes did not succeed or became too extravagant, violence and murder would happen. Prohibition also encouraged heavy or abusive drinking. Instead of drinking alcohol at dinner or occasionally, people would guzzle it down when they had the opportunity, since alcohol was prohibited. In addition, prohibition prevented states of needed revenue. This caused increased expenses for the criminal justice system and a governmental study found that two-thirds of all federal expenditures on law enforcement involved prohibition. The 18th amendment was the main reason why the 21st amendment was established.
After eight months of the 18th amendment’s ratification, Congress passed the Volstead Act which helped enforce prohibition. However, federal agents and police had difficulty implementing these enforcements with the rise of bootleggers, crime, corruption, and dangers to consumers. On February 20th, 1933, Congress proposed the 21st amendment, aimed at revoking prohibition of alcohol and in the month of April President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Cullen-Harrison Act, which amended the prohibition-based Volstead Act to permit the manufacturing and sale of low-alcohol beer and wines. Ratification of the 21st amendment was completed on December 5th, 1933. As a result of the 21st amendment being created, the 18th amendment ended up being repealed and terminated the prohibition of alcohol.
Even though the 21st amendment peaked long time ago in the 1930s, there is still recent information about it today. The 21st amendment ended prohibition and gave states broad power to regulate alcoholic beverages.