Today is the 80th Anniversary of the repeal of Prohibition of alcohol! Celebrate by having a drink of your choice today.
What is Repeal Day?
The turn of the twentieth century was a dark time in America. The Women's Christian Temperance Union, which had been promoting Prohibition for many years, believed alcohol was the cause of many, if not all, social ills. Mistruths like this were spread. Lines were drawn. Bars and taverns were vandalized. People were killed. On January 16th, 1919, Congress passed the Volstead Act, outlawing alcohol and ostensibly putting an end to drunkenness, crime, mental illness, and poverty.
Ironically, America's thirst for alcohol increased during Prohibition, and organized crime rose up to replace formerly legal methods of production and distribution. While proponents of Prohibition argued that the amendment would be more effective if enforcement were increased, respect for the law diminished and drunkenness, crime and resentment towards the federal government ran rampant.
On December 5th, 1933, Utah, the final state needed for a three quarters majority, ratified the 21st Amendment, repealing Prohibition and restoring the American right to a celebratory drink. While the amendment still allowed for state and local levels of Prohibition, by 1966 there were no state laws banning alcohol.
Over the course of the next thirteen years, support for Prohibition waned as the nation awoke to the widespread problems Prohibition had caused. The number of repeal organizations — many of which were comprised of former Prohibitionists — increased, and in 1932 Franklin Delano Roosevelt ran for President on a platform that included the repeal of Prohibition.
Why Do We Celebrate?
Repeal Day is not widely celebrated in this country, yet it commemorates the anniversary of the day the United States repealed the Eighteenth Amendment and gave Americans the constitutional ability to consume alcohol.
Here are a few reasons why we think Repeal Day should be a celebrated day in the United States:
It's the perfect time of year.
Conveniently located halfway between Thanksgiving and Christmas — at a time when most Americans are probably not spending time with family — Repeal Day presents a wonderful occasion to get together with friends and pay tribute to our constitutional rights.
We have the constitutional ability to do so.
Unlike St. Patrick's Day or Cinco de Mayo, Repeal Day is a day that all Americans have a part in observing, because it's written in our Constitution. No other holiday celebrates the laws that guarantee our rights, and Repeal Day has everything to do with our personal pleasures.
There are no outfits to buy, costumes to rent, rivers to dye green. Simply celebrate the day by stopping by your local bar, tavern, saloon, winery, distillery, or brewhouse and having a drink. Pick up a six-pack on your way home from work. Split a bottle of wine with a loved one. Buy a shot for a stranger. Just do it because you can.
Thanks for reading about what we hope will become a celebrated day in this country. Please help spread the word about Repeal Day, and tell a friend.
The 18th Amendment
Ratified January 16, 1919
Section 1. After one year from the ratification of this article the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors within, the importation thereof into, or the exportation thereof from the United States and all territory subject to the jurisdiction thereof for beverage purposes is hereby prohibited.
Section 2. The Congress and the several States shall have concurrent power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
Section 3. This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of the several States, as provided in the Constitution, within seven years from the date of the submission hereof to the States by the Congress.
The 21st Amendment
Ratified December 5, 1933
Section 1. The eighteenth article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States is hereby repealed.
Section 2. The transportation or importation into any State, Territory, or possession of the United States for delivery or use there in of intoxicating liquors, in violation of the laws thereof, is hereby prohibited.
Section 3. This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by conventions in the several States, as provided in the Constitution, within seven years from the date of the submission hereof to the States by the Congress.
Repeal Day Site created by Jeffrey Morgenthaler. Click here for the ongoing story of Repeal Day.