Sunday, October 27, 2013

From President Wilson's Daybook: October 27, 1919

Woodrow Wilson's Wine Cellar

On this day in 1919 Woodrow Wilson vetoed the Volstead Act. This veto was short lived as later that day the House overrode President Wilson’s veto and the next day, the Senate followed suit and prohibition was established.

Close up of bottles from the cellar
The Volstead Act was a companion to the 18th amendment as it defined “intoxicating liquors” and further regulated the sale and manufacturing of alcohol. While the amendment was successful in lowering the consumption of alcohol, it eventually led to an increase in criminal activity.

As more people found methods to obtain alcohol, they began to disregard other laws and organized crime rose.  It slowly became apparent that the law was difficult to enforce as speakeasy clubs began to become common place.  Even with police raids, clubs would reopen after and continue to profit because of the demand.  By 1933, the public repealed the 18th amendment with the 21st through state ratifying conventions, the only amendment to have been created through this method.

-Ashley Rits

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