The 18th Amendment - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

The 18th Amendment

By Tim Guidera - bio | email

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) – The number of beer commercials on TV in any given hour today is evidence of the flexibility of the Constitution and fallibility of the amendment process. It also underscores the short-lived and ill-fated history of 18th Amendment.

The banning of alcohol in 1919 reflected the growing temperance movement of the time and was aimed at eliminating the growing problem of public drunkenness. But the amendment introduced new issues, which included but were not limited to the unwelcome legislation of morality.

"It certainly seemed like a good idea at the time,'' said Donnie Dixon, former U.S. Attorney for Georgia's Southern District. "But like so many good ideas, it had unintended effects. One of the unintended effects was there was a large market of underground, illegal sale of alcohol that in many ways spawned the expansion of organized crime in the united states which exists today although they're in different areas at this particular point.''

The 18th was the only amendment in more than 200 years to be repealed when the 21st Amendment made alcohol legal again in 1933.

Copyright 2010 WTOC. All rights reserved.

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