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August 25, 2014

20 Historical Photos From the Days of American Prohibition

Prohibition, legal prevention of the manufacture, sale, and transportation of alcoholic beverages in the United States from 1920 to 1933 under the terms of the Eighteenth Amendment.

Although the temperance movement, which was widely supported, had succeeded in bringing about this legislation, millions of Americans were willing to drink liquor (distilled spirits) illegally, which gave rise to bootlegging (the illegal production and sale of liquor) and speakeasies (illegal, secretive drinking establishments), both of which were capitalized upon by organized crime. As a result, the Prohibition era also is remembered as a period of gangsterism, characterized by competition and violent turf battles between criminal gangs.

Prohibition began in 1920 with the passing of the Volstead Act. The Eighteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution, prohibiting the production and selling of "intoxicating liquors," had been ratified in 1919, and the Volstead Act was enacted in order to enforce and regulate the Amendment. Here, alcohol seized by police is dumped into sewage drains in New York.

This liquor store advertises that "The time is getting shorter and so is our stock..." as Prohibition begins in 1920.

Casks of booze go straight down the drain as Prohibition takes effect.

This illegal whiskey distillery near Detroit is put out of business.

Gallons and gallons of wine pour into the street at this winery near Los Angeles.

Booze smugglers employed all manner of tricks to avoid the law.

These Grand Dames of Illicit Distillation prove that not all bootleggers were men.

During Prohibition, Americans were forced to hide their bottles of alcohol in creative ways.

These rural moonshiners set up their operation far out in the woods to avoid detection by Johnny Law.

Officers in Cambridge, Massachusetts pour confiscated liquor into the sewer.

Needless to saw, Prohibition wasn't the most popular concept.

Protestors march in New York City on November 10, 1932, calling for the end of Prohibition.

Customs agents confiscate a large amount of alcohol from a bootlegger's boat.

These anti-prohibition protesters use biblical passages to make their point.

Speakeasy patrons drink and dance at this party.

The Krazy Kat Klub was a painting school, treehouse, and illegal speakeasy in Washington, D.C.

Officers break up an illegal distillery in King County, Washington.

Prohibition agents seize boxes of booze during a raid.

Revelers toast the end of Prohibition in 1933.

Two New York Brewery workers scrub a large tank of beer on November 23, 1932 that had remained empty during Prohibition. With the repeal of the Eighteenth Amendment and the end of the Volstead Act, the stills were ready for use again.


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