Thursday, April 21, 2011

Amendments 18, 19, and 21

Temecula Constitution Class, April 21, 2011

Amendment XVIII

Amendment XVIII was ratified January 16, 1919, bringing the prohibition of alcohol to the United States. The amendment was repealed by Amendment XXI, December 5, 1933.

Christian churches worked to bring about prohibition as far back as the 1840s. Through the use of pressure-politics the goal of nationwide prohibition was achieved during World War I with the ratification of the Eighteenth Amendment.

Congress passed the "Volstead Act" on October 28, 1919, to enforce the law, but most large cities refused to enforce the legislation. As the federal government went after bootleggers, it became quickly apparent that the understaffed agencies were fighting a losing battle. Meanwhile, though there was a slight decline in alcohol consumption around the nation, organized crime increased in the larger cities. Alcohol became a high demand cash crop that the criminal element could not resist.

As Prohibition became increasingly unpopular, the perceived need for tax revenue during the Great Depression encouraged a repeal movement. The hope for tax revenue, and weakening organized crime, led to the Twenty-First Amendment, which repealed the amendment that had brought Prohibition to America. The repeal returned the legalities of alcohol to the States. Though Prohibition was over nationwide, some counties remained "dry counties," forbidding the sale of alcoholic beverages.

Amendment XIX

The Nineteenth Amendment is the Amendment that gave the right to vote to women. It was ratified on August 18, 1920.

The Constitution gives the States the right to determine its own rules for elections. Though a few states allowed women to vote, for the most part women were not allowed to vote around the nation. The women's suffrage movement worked to bring about an amendment that would give women voting rights nationwide. The amendment was first proposed in 1878, and it took forty-one years before it was submitted to the States for ratification. It took about a year to receive enough votes for ratification.

A challenge to the Nineteenth Amendment (Leser v. Garnett, 1922) claimed that the amendment was unconstitutionally adopted, and that the rules for elections was implicitly delegated to the individual states because of the need to preserve state sovereignty. However, the very fact that the change in voting rules was through amendment made the argument against the Nineteenth Amendment a moot point.


Special Thanks to: Faith Armory, 27498 Enterprise Cir. W #2, Temecula, CA 92562; 951-699-7500, - For providing us with a classroom to meet in.,

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