Watching the Ken Burns PBS documentary on prohibition on Netflix. It's super interesting.
A few things I didn't know:
- Before prohibition, up to 70% of tax revenue came from taxes on alcohol. The income tax was implemented alongside prohibition to make up for the loss of that tax revenue.
- Leading up to prohibition, Americans hated Germans so much, because of the first world war, as well as their strength as brewers, that they renamed sauerkraut "liberty cabbage". Reminds me of how french fries were renamed "freedom fries" during the Iraq war. Americans are silly sometimes.
- There was actually a Gandhi-like non-violent activism by the women that was very effective in the early days of the anti-alcohol movement.
- Before prohibition, alcohol consumption was actually a pretty serious problem in America. A lot of men were drunk all the time, and it wrecked families and made for a lot of crime.
- During prohibition, bootleg alcohol was still consumed both at congress and at the white house.
- Prohibition was repealed in large part because of the great depression
- Of course, the income tax wasn't repealed along with it
- Alcohol was more freely available during prohibition than after it, because once it was legal, there'd be closing hours and drinking age and other controls around it
- Bootleggers delivered illegal booze directly to congress. Even many congressmen who had voted for prohibition would drink.
- The brewery-owned men-only saloons never returned.
- Women played an decisive role in repealing prohibition as well.
A fantastic documentary. Highly recommended.
And of course, there's no excuse for not legalizing other drugs now that we're on the subject.