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Amendment XVIII (the Eighteenth Amendment) of the United States Constitution, along with the Volstead Act (which defined "intoxicating liquors" excluding those used for religious purposes and sales throughout the U.S.), established Prohibition in the United States. Its ratification was certified on January 16, 1919. It is the only amendment to the Constitution that has been repealed (by the Twenty-first Amendment) (1933).

Contents

Text

Section 1. After one year from the ratification of this article the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors within, the importation thereof into, or the exportation thereof from the United States and all territory subject to the jurisdiction thereof for beverage purposes is hereby prohibited.

Section 2. The Congress and the several States shall have concurrent power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

Section 3. This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of the several States, as provided in the Constitution, within seven years from the date of the submission hereof to the States by the Congress.

History

The amendment did not ban the consumption of alcohol, but made it difficult to obtain legally.

Following significant pressure on lawmakers from the temperance movement, the House of Representatives passed the amendment on December 18, 1917. It was certified as ratified on January 16, 1919, having been approved by 36 states. It went into effect one year after ratification, on January 17, 1920. (Many state legislatures had already enacted statewide prohibition prior to the ratification of the Eighteenth Amendment.)

When Congress submitted this amendment to the states for ratification, it was the first time a proposed amendment contained a provision placing a deadline for its ratification. The validity of that clause of the amendment was challenged and reached the Supreme Court, which ruled in the case of Dillon v. Gloss in 1921 and upheld the constitutionality of such a deadline.

Because many Americans attempted to evade the restrictions of Prohibition, there was a considerable growth in organized crime in the United States in response to public demand for illegal alcohol. The amendment was repealed by the Twenty-First Amendment on December 5, 1933. It remains the only constitutional amendment to be repealed in its entirety.[1]

Proposal and ratification

Amendment XVIII in the National Archives

On August 1, 1917, the Senate passed a resolution containing the language of the amendment to be presented to the states for ratification by a vote of 65 to 20, with the Democrats voting 36 in favor and 12 in opposition and the Republicans voting 29 in favor and 8 in opposition. The House of Representatives passed the resolution[2] on December 17, 1917. In that chamber the vote was 282 to 128, with the Democrats voting 146 in favor and 64 in opposition and the Republicans voting 137 in favor and 62 in opposition.[3] It was officially proposed by Congress when the Senate passed the resolution the next day, December 18.

Ratification was completed on January 16, 1919, when Nebraska became the thirty-sixth of the forty-eight states then in the Union to ratify it. On January 29, acting Secretary of State Frank L. Polk certified the ratification.[4]

The following states ratified the amendment:[5]

  1. Mississippi (January 7, 1918)
  2. Virginia (January 11, 1918)
  3. Kentucky (January 14, 1918)
  4. North Dakota (January 25, 1918)[6]
  5. South Carolina (January 29, 1918)
  6. Maryland (February 13, 1918)
  7. Montana (February 19, 1918)
  8. Texas (March 4, 1918)
  9. Delaware (March 18, 1918)
  10. South Dakota (March 20, 1918)
  11. Massachusetts (April 2, 1918)
  12. Arizona (May 24, 1918)
  13. Georgia (June 26, 1918)
  14. Louisiana (August 3, 1918)[7]
  15. Florida (November 27, 1918)
  16. Michigan (January 2, 1919)
  17. Ohio (January 7, 1919)
  18. Oklahoma (January 7, 1919)
  19. Idaho (January 8, 1919)
  20. Maine (January 8, 1919)
  21. West Virginia (January 9, 1919)
  22. California (January 13, 1919)
  23. Tennessee (January 13, 1919)
  24. Washington (January 13, 1919)
  25. Arkansas (January 14, 1919)
  26. Illinois (January 14, 1919)
  27. Indiana (January 14, 1919)
  28. Kansas (January 14, 1919)
  29. Alabama (January 15, 1919)
  30. Colorado (January 15, 1919)
  31. Iowa (January 15, 1919)
  32. New Hampshire (January 15, 1919)
  33. Oregon (January 15, 1919)
  34. Nebraska (January 16, 1919)
  35. North Carolina (January 16, 1919)
  36. Utah (January 16, 1919)
  37. Missouri (January 16, 1919)
  38. Wyoming (January 16, 1919)
  39. Minnesota (January 17, 1919)
  40. Wisconsin (January 17, 1919)
  41. New Mexico (January 20, 1919)
  42. Nevada (January 21, 1919)
  43. New York (January 29, 1919)
  44. Vermont (January 29, 1919)
  45. Pennsylvania (February 25, 1919)
  46. New Jersey (March 9, 1922)

The following states rejected the amendment:

  1. Connecticut[8]
  2. Rhode Island
Prohibition agents destroying barrels of alcohol.

To define the language used in the Amendment, Congress enacted enabling legislation called the National Prohibition Act, better known as the Volstead Act, on October 28, 1919. President Wilson vetoed that bill, but the House immediately voted to override the veto and the Senate voted similarly the next day. The Volstead Act set the starting date for nationwide prohibition for January 17, 1920.[3]

See also

References

  1. ^ Frank L. Iber (1990). Alcohol and drug abuse as encountered in office practice. CRC Press. p. 32. ISBN 9780849301667. http://books.google.com/books?id=327L800dIGYC. Retrieved 26 February 2010. 
  2. ^ 40 Stat. 1050
  3. ^ a b David Pietrusza, 1920: The Year of Six Presidents (NY: Carroll & Graf, 2007), 160
  4. ^ 40 Stat. 1941.
  5. ^ The dates of proposal, ratifications and certification come from The Constitution Of The United States Of America Analysis And Interpretation Analysis Of Cases Decided By The Supreme Court Of The United States To June 28, 2008, United States Senate doc. no. 108-17, at 35 n.10. See also Mount, Steve (January 2007). "Ratification of Constitutional Amendments". http://www.usconstitution.net/constamrat.html. Retrieved February 24, 2007. 
  6. ^ Effective January 28, 1918, the date on which the North Dakota ratification was approved by the state Governor.
  7. ^ Effective August 9, 1918, the date on which the Louisiana ratification was approved by the state Governor.
  8. ^ 2008 Supplement: The Constitution Of The United States Of America Analysis And Interpretation [1]

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