On January 16, 1919, States ratified the 18th Amendment ushering in the Prohibition Era. This guide provides access to material related to the "Prohibition Amendment" in the Chronicling America digital collection of historic newspapers.
Chronicling America is a searchable digital collection of historic newspaper pages from 1777-1963 sponsored jointly by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress.
Included in the website is the Directory of US Newspapers in American Libraries, a searchable index to newspapers published in the United States since 1690, which helps researchers identify what titles exist for a specific place and time, and how to access them.
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.