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Toast the Constitution: Prohibition Resources

The Rise and Fall of Prohibition Essay

Beginning in 1920, the Eighteenth Amendment prohibited the manufacture, sale, and transport of alcohol, but the idea of controls on alcohol began more than a century earlier. Eventually, religious groups, politicians, and social organizations advocated for total abolition of alcohol, leading to Prohibition. The Eighteenth Amendment caused widespread disregard for the law and a surge in organized crime before it was eventually repealed in 1933. Why did some groups want a Prohibition amendment passed? How did Prohibition fit into the progressive movement? What were its effects, and why was it eventually repealed? Explore these questions with this full lesson plan.

Dinner Party Activity

Many notable Americans played many roles during the Prohibition era, from government officials and social reformers to bootleggers and crime bosses. Each person had personal reasons for supporting or opposing Prohibition. What stances did these individuals take? What legal, moral, and ethical questions did they have to wrestle with? Why were their actions important? And how might a “dinner party” attended by them bring some of these questions to the surface? Download this activity and step back in time with these American icons.

Prohibition Pictionary Activity

The Eighteenth Amendment banned the manufacture, sale, and transport of alcoholic beverages and was in effect from 1920 to 1933. What impact did this amendment have on government power? What powers did the national government gain or lose? What powers did the state governments gain or lose? Who were the important players in the Prohibition amendments? What ideas, terms, and concepts were developed or came to the forefront during this period? Download this activity and explore these important questions.

These lessons were developed in partnership with the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia for their “American Spirits” exhibit. Resource distribution was made possible by the Center for Alcohol Policy.