Prohibition in the US was made law 100 years ago on Jan. 16, 1919, as Nebraska became the 36th state to ratify the 18th amendment, which banned “the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors.”
It wouldn’t formally go into effect until 1920, when the Volstead Act, the measure passed by Congress in October of 1919 laid out the enforcement of prohibition.
The push for prohibition in the US was decades in the making. The temperance movement had been preaching about the ills of alcohol for more than a century.
Prohibition in turn led to the rise of organized crime, while Americans continued to drink heavily. “Rum runners” brought illicit liquor into the US, speakeasy bars flourished in cities and the massive parties that defined the “Roaring Twenties” still went on behind closed doors, all while law-enforcement officials appeared in press photos confiscating liquor and taking axes to barrels of beer.
It would be law of the land until it was repealed in 1933, the only constitutional amendment ever to meet that fate.