In an effort to make the nation "bone dry" and protect families from the effects of alcohol abuse, breweries, saloons, and distilleries are forced to close their doors after the ratification of the 18th Amendment on January 16, 1919. Ushering in the Prohibition Era, the legal enforcement of the law one year later sent the message of "let rum alone" to Americans, but also gave rise to the illegal production and sale of liquor and increased gang-related violence. Read more about it!
The information in this guide focuses on primary source materials found in the digitized historic newspapers from the digital collection Chronicling America.
The timeline below highlights important dates related to this topic and a section of this guide provides some suggested search strategies for further research in the collection.
|August 1, 1917||The Senate passes a resolution to present a constitutional amendment prohibiting the sale or consumption of alcohol to the states for ratification.|
|December 17‑18, 1917||The House of Representatives and the Senate pass a revised resolution.|
|January 16, 1919||The 18th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States is certified, having been ratified by 46 states.|
|October 28-29, 1919||House and Senate pass Volstead Act over presidential veto.|
|January 17, 1920||Legal enforcement begins.|