Thursday, December 05, 2019

On this date in American history, it once again became legal to sell intoxicating beverages.

Prohibition Repealed!

A prohibitionist is the sort of man one couldn't care to drink with,
even if he drank.
— Henry Louis (H.L.) Mencken

Eighty-six years ago, today —on 5 December 1933 (at 5:32 pm ET)— the state of Utah voted to approve the 21st Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America, its decision fulfilling the requisite number of states and thus terminating the ignoble, nearly 14-year reign, of the 18th Amendment, Prohibition.

Some might find it ironic that Utah of all states —with its widespread latter-day teetotalling— would vote to ALLOW alcohol. On closer examination, it may have been logically sagacious of that state to repudiate the 18th amendment, the ONLY amendment to eradicate constitutional rights rather than creating, affirming, or clarifying them.

After Utah's vote, two more states would vote to ratify. Six states (excluding Alaska and Hawaii, which were not states at that time) would never bother to vote on the amendment. But alone among all the states of the nation, only South Carolina, deserving of ignominy, voted against repeal.

  • I'm cribbing from my own blog. This post originally appeared, in longer form (but minus the Mencken quote), on 5 December 2014.

  • By the way, hadn't beer become 'legal' again on 7 April 1933? Yes, and no. Only beer of 4% alcohol-by-volume (3.2% by weight) or less had been okayed, declared "non-intoxicating" through the legalistic legerdemain of President Franklin Roosevelt and Congress. Read more: here.
  • How could Prohibition ever have occurred? Read "Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition", by Daniel Okrent. It's a fascinating history, and a sober (pardon the pun) reminder to remain vigilant.

  • For more from YFGF:

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