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National Prohibition Act

1926

 

You 
have 
listened 
to
 testimony 
of 
shocking 
conditions
 due 
to 
corruption 
of
 officials,
and
lack
of
 enforcement,
some
of
which
suggested
no
remedy
except
a
surrender
to
those
who
violate
the
 law,
while
the
propaganda
of
all
these
organizations
is
encouraging
continued
violation.

Permit
 me
to
show
an other 
side 
of 
the 
picture, 
and 
propose
 that 
instead 
of 
lowering 
our 
standards 
we
 urge 
that the 
law 
be 
strengthened,
 and 
in 
that 
way 
notice 
be
served 
on 
law 
violators
t hat
 America
 expects 
her
 laws to 
be 
enforced 
and 
to 
be 
obeyed….


Enforcement
 has 
never 
had 
a 
fair 
trial. 

Political 
patronage,
 leakage 
through 
the 
permit 
system,
 connivance 
at 
the 
violation 
of 
law,
 and
 spread
of
the
propaganda
that
it
is
not
obligatory
to
 obey
a
law
unless
you
believe
in
it,
and
to
the
effect
that
the
responsibility
for
the
enforcement
 of
law
rested 
with
the
officers
alone,
when
it
should
be
shared
by
the
individual
citizen,
have
 materially
hindered
the
work
of
enforcement‐‐‐all
this
within
the
result
that
the
United
States
 has
not
derived
from
prohibition
what
it
would
have
derived
had
all
the
people
observed
the
 law
and
had
there
been
hearty
cooperation
of
the
press
and
the
people…..


It 
is 
not 
easy 
to 
get 
at 
the 
facts 
about 
the 
effect 
of 
prohibition 
on 
health, 
morals, 
and 
economic
 life 
because 
they 
are 
interwoven
 with 
other
causes,
and
partial
statistics
may
be
misleading.

 But
 the 
elimination 
of 
a 
preventable 
cause 
of 
poverty,
 crime,
 tuberculosis, 
the 
diseases
 of
 middle
 life, 
unhappy
 homes,
 and
 financial 
depression 
brings
 results 
in so far
 as 
the 
law
 is
 observed 
and 
enforced….


The 
closing 
of 
the 
saloon 
with 
its 
doors
 swinging 
both 
ways, 
an 
ever‐present 
invitation 
for 
all to
 drink—men,
 women,
 and
 boys—is
 an
outstanding
 fact, 
and 
no
 one 
wants 
it 
to 
return. 

It 
has
 resulted 
in 
better 
national 
health, 
children 
are 
born
 under
 better 
conditions,
 homes
 are
better,
 and 
the
mother
is
delivered
from
the
fear
of
a
drunken
husband.

There
is
better
food.

Savings‐banks
deposits
have
increased,
and
many
a
man
has
a
bank
account
to‐day
who
had
none
in
 the
days
of
the
saloon.



The
increase
in
home
owning
is
another
evidence
that
money
wasted
in
drink
is
now
used
for
 the
benefit
of
the
family.

Improved
living
conditions
are
noticeable
in
our
former
slum
districts.

 The
Bowery
and
Hell’s
Kitchen
are
transformed.



Safety‐first
campaigns
on
railroads
and
in
the
presence
of
the
increasing
number
of
 automobiles
are
greatly
strengthened
by
prohibition.


 The
prohibition
law
is
not
the
only
law
that
is
violated.

Traffic
laws,
anti‐smuggling
laws,
as
well
 as
the
Prohibition
Act,
are
held
in
contempt.

It
is
the
spirit
of
the
age.





Life 
insurance 
companies
 have 
long 
known
 that 
drinkers 
were 
poor 
risks, 
but 
they 
recognize
 the
 fact 
tha t
prohibition 
has
 removed
 a
preventable
cause
of
great
financial
loss
to
them.

The
 wonderful
advances
in
mechanics
in
the
application
of
electricity
and
in
transportation
demand
 brains
 free 
from 
the 
fumes
 of
 alcohol, 
hence 
law
 enforcement
 and
 law 
observance
 contribute
 to
 this 
progress….


Your 
attention
 has 
been 
called 
to
 the 
failures.

 We
 claim
 these
 have 
been 
the
result
of
lax
 enforcement.

The 
machinery
 of
 enforcement 
should
 be 
strengthened.

 

 

Source: Hearings 
before
 the 
Subcommittee 
of 
the 
Committee
on 
the
 Judiciary, 
U.S. 
Senate, 
Sixty‐ninth 
Congress,
 First
 Session
 (April 
5‐24,
1926),
 on. Bills
 to
 Amend
 the
 National
 Prohibition
 Act,
vol.
1, 
649‐651
 and 
1068‐1071.