Today’s post comes from Emily Niekrasz, an intern in the National Archives History Office in Washington, DC.
In March 2015 the National Archives opened “Spirited Republic: Alcohol in American History,” a new exhibit that explores the complex love-hate relationship between America and alcohol.
The exhibit’s curator, Bruce Bustard, has written, “These two different views of alcoholic beverages run throughout American history. Sometimes they have existed in relative peace; at other times they have been at war.”
Some of the documents not only represent the war of opposing views regarding Prohibition, but they also highlight the debate over alcohol consumption within an even larger conflict—World War II.
On December 5, 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt announced the repeal of the 18th Amendment, ending the prohibition on the manufacture and sale of alcohol in the United States. Although the American government concluded its legal war on alcohol, the American people remained divided. This friction—documented in the exhibit—continued throughout World War II.
One such document is a 1943 petition to Congress for the return to Prohibition, titled “Alcohol—Hitler’s Best Friend, America’s Worst Enemy.” By associating alcohol with Hitler—at the height of World War II—it is evident that the 19 petitioners, both men and women, considered alcohol an evil.
Within the opening of their appeal, the authors … [ Read all ]
Posted by Jessie Kratz on June 24, 2015, under - World War II, News and Events, petitions, Uncategorized.
Tags: 21st Amendment, beer, exhibit, General Pershing, hammock, hitler, Japanese, Prohibition, saloons, Spirited Republic
Today’s post comes from Zach Kopin, an intern in the National Archives History Office in Washington, DC.
A new exhibit on America’s connection to alcohol is now on display at the National Archives. “Spirited Republic: Alcohol and American History” is about the United States’ love-hate relationship with the “demon rum.”
Bruce Bustard, the exhibit’s curator, says the exhibit demonstrates the “changing attitudes of the American people about alcohol, and also looks at that through the records of the National Archives and Presidential Libraries.”
One of the most interesting people featured in the exhibit is Daisy Simpson. Simpson was one of the Treasury Department’s most famous Prohibition officers (called “prohis”).
Known as the “Lady Hooch Hunter,” Simpson quickly attracted attention—and press—with her spectacular busts of Volstead Act violators.
Passed on October 28, 1919, the Volstead Act implemented the 18th amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which established prohibition in the U.S.
The act empowered Federal, as well as state and local governments, to enforce Prohibition by limiting the manufacture, sale, or transportation of alcohol.
The U.S. Government turned to the Treasury Department to play the part of the act’s enforcer, a role in which women were integral.
While women gained the equal right to vote 1920, gender-based assignment of tasks endured. Women worked in the … [ Read all ]
As Prohibition commenced in 1920, progressives and temperance activists envisioned an age of moral and social reform. But over the next decade, the “noble experiment” produced crime, violence, and a flourishing illegal liquor trade.
The roots of Prohibition date back to the mid-19th century, when the American Temperance Society and the Women’s Christian Temperance League initiated the “dry” movement. In 1917, Congress passed a resolution calling for a constitutional amendment to implement nationwide Prohibition.
After the 18th Amendment was ratified in 1919, Congress followed with the National Prohibition Act. Commonly referred to as the Volstead Act, the legislation outlawed the production, distribution, and transportation of alcohol. Prohibition officially went into effect on January 16, 1920.
But while reformers rejoiced, famous gangsters such as Al Capone capitalized and profited from the illegal alcohol market.
From Los Angeles to Chicago to New York, organized crime syndicates supplied speakeasies and underground establishments with large quantities of beer and liquor. These complex bootlegging operations used rivers and waterways to smuggle alcohol across state lines. Eventually, other criminal enterprises expanded and diversified from the bootlegging profits.
As organized crime syndicates grew throughout the Prohibition era, territorial disputes often transformed America’s cities into violent battlegrounds. Homicides, burglaries, and assaults consequently increased significantly between 1920 and 1933.… [ Read all ]
Posted by Gregory Marose on January 17, 2012, under - Great Depression, - Presidents.
Tags: 18th Amendment, 21st Amendment, Al Capone, American Temperance Society, bootlegging, December 5 1933, FDR, gangster, National Prohibition Act, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Prohibition, Volstead Act, Women’s Christian Temperance League
Al Capone—the quintessential American gangster—headed the nation’s most notorious organized crime syndicate for more than a decade during Prohibition.
Through smuggling, bootlegging, and a variety of other criminal operations, his “Chicago Outfit” was able to dominate America’s illegal liquor trade throughout the 1920s. But did you know that Al Capone was never convicted of violating the National Prohibition Act?
In 1931, Capone was indicted for income tax evasion for 1925-1929. Despite his immense wealth, he had never paid taxes or purchased any assets in his own name.
So when the Internal Revenue Service’s Special Intelligence Unit uncovered cash receipts from a gambling operation linked to Capone, the evidence served as the foundation for a Federal case. The prosecution charged that he owed over $200,000 in unpaid taxes stemming from gambling profits.
Unable to strike a plea bargain with prosecutors, Capone attempted to bribe jury members. The presiding judge, however, responded by quietly changing the jury panel prior to the trial.
On October 18, 1931, Capone was found guilty on five counts of tax evasion. A month later he was sentenced to 11 years in Federal prison, fined $50,000, charged $7,692 for court costs, and ordered to pay his back taxes plus interest.
Following seven and a half years in … [ Read all ]
Posted by Gregory Marose on July 26, 2011, under Myth or History, Unusual documents.
Tags: Al Capone, Alcatraz, IRS, National Archives at Chicago, National Prohibition Act, Prohibition, tax evasion
It’s time to “spill” the beans on who won last week’s contest. While we had more fun than a “barrel” of monkeys reading through your comments, settling on a winner was a “sobering” task. We loved Gabby’s “There was some confusion at the onset of the invention of the ‘kegger’ to what exactly the purpose of this activity was. Many years later, it would still receive mixed reviews from the neighbors,” and any reference to a 200-foot-tall space alien master (Bob S.) we enjoy, but ultimately it was Rebecca who took the cake (and 30% eStore discount!). Her comment is below the image at left.
As most of you guessed, this photo was from Prohibition, 1931 to be precise. The original caption reads “Los Angeles authorities emptying barrels of rum, 1931.” Two years later, in 1933, the 21st Amendment would end Prohibition, becoming the only amendment to repeal a previous one (so far).
While Prohibition may be over, our arsenal of strange is still plenty full here at the Archives. This week we’ve pulled out a particularly peculiar picture for pontification, so stretch out that funny bone and submit your comments! You never know who will be guest judging!
Here’s something to get you started:
… [ Read all ]
“Originally made of ‘thirteen stripes alternating
Posted by Rob Crotty on July 1, 2010, under Photo Caption Contest.
Tags: black and white photos, caption contest, NARA, National archives and records administration recognition day, old photos, Prohibition