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Eighteenth Amendment

This amendment to the U.S. Constitution, ratified in 1919, prohibited “the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors.” Late nineteenth and early twentieth-century Protestantism, whether theologically evangelical or liberal, was devoted to the moral reform of society. The increase in drunkenness in growing urban industrial centers aroused reform-minded people. The temperance movement gradually grew in strength and shifted its emphasis from moderation to total abstinence enforced by law. There was widespread popular resentment against the Eighteenth Amendment, and it was difficult to enforce, especially in urban areas. Many people disregarded the law, and bootlegging became a lucrative business, bringing with it the establishment of violent, organized crime syndicates. The passage in 1933 of the Twenty- First Amendment repealed the Eighteenth Amendment, but left local or state authorities to deal with the right to make their own alcoholic beverages.