Tuesday, December 18, 2018
Foodies Legends

PROHIBITION: HOW HISTORY CHANGES OUR HABITS

We are talking about: Al Capone, parties in the speakeasy, Prohibition Party, speakeasy without prohibition, Thompson Sub-machine Gun, “moonlight”, finger food, Rockefeller, class struggle, assaults to trains. We talk about Prohibition

The poor sections of cities will soon be thing of the past. Prisons and correctional institutions will be empty. All men will walk with their heads high, all women will smile, all children will laugh. The doors of hell will forever be closed”. Andrew Volstead.

Andrea Volstead, senator of the United States, had just banned the alcohol from its country through the ban that has its name. According to him he banned the evil from the Earth (and he cured the men’s hump).

The Volstead Act and the XVIII amendment came into effect on January the 16th 1920. At 00:45 of January the 15th, an armed group assaulted a train to steal its load of whiskey. Probably that night Senator Andrew Volstead had some doubts.

The impulse that brought to thirteen years of prohibition (in some states the ban was even longer) came from the Temperance Society, the first of it appeared in a

The Temperance Societies were religious and/or politicians groups characterized by a strong prudery and fundamentalist positions. The name of some of them, for example: Woman’s Christian Temperance Union, Anti-Saloon League, Daughters of Temperance, Prohibition Party and New York Society for the Suppression of Vice.

Many of these leagues were mainly composed by women that were, in large majority, victims of the chronic drunkenness of their fathers, sons and brothers.

The alcohol was indeed a social scourge between the end ‘800 and beginning of ‘900 and it was linked to crime and violence, especially in the poor neighborhood of the city.

The worker mass employed in industries came from the suburbs, and magnates such as Ford, Rockefeller and Joy were the main financial backers of the temperance societies (especially the Anti-Saloon League). The interest of these tycoon wasn’t philanthropic: banning the alcohol they believed to limit the absenteeism and push the low class to consume goods other than beer and gin.

Rockefeller and Volstead’s hopes were soon disappointed and the prohibition anticipated all the symptoms that can be noticed in drugs traffic: the alcohol quality collapsed at the point to provoke intoxication, prices in the black market rose and the profit ended in criminal hands, the violence brought an increase of criminality.

So, till now we talked about: Rockefeller, train assaults, class struggles and “Prohibition Party”. For the 20’s cocktail stay with us!

 

This post is also available in: Italiano (Italian)

Pierluigi Capriotti
My name is Pierluigi Capriotti to be exact. Despite a degree in Architecture I'm a journalist. I write following temporary monomania and others that are chronic such reading, soccer, travels and food. When I write I use many asides – because I have the impression there is always something more to say. Because in those asides I talk about my passions. So that everybody will notice them but with nonchalance. I've never had a high regard for wisdom. And, thanks God, this helped me to leave for the foodiestrip journey with a spiritual-creative mathematician, an IT engineer who plays the Star Wars soundtrack with the coffee stirrers and a businessnerd. One way ticket. No return.