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10 Wild Facts About Prohibition You May Not Have Known

From the daring new hemlines to the jazz music to the stories of fearless gangsters, the era of Prohibition is full of wild stories and a certain paradoxical charm. Prohibition lasted for 13 long years, under the auspice of crime reduction and increased health and moral standing. But, as history reveals, these were hardly the results of the Noble Experiment. From 1920 to 1933 the nation endured Prohibition. Read on to find out about some truly surprising events that took place during that time!

1) States’ Rights

Facts About Prohibition You May Not Have Known

Original caption: “Repeal the 18th Amendment’ slogan on a spare tire cover. Dec. 16, 1930. Miss Elizabeth Thompson was a member of ‘The Crusaders,’ a national organization formed to overthrow prohibition.” Via/ Shutterstock

Some states did not enforce the 18th Amendment, like Maryland, which refused to pass enforcement laws for the federal ban on the sale and transportation of alcohol. In these states the alcohol ran much more freely than in other locales, but shortages of old favorites were still a problem. Breweries and distilleries that had operated for decades either shut down or else began the manufacture of other products.

2) Lethal Alcohol

The U.S. government instituted a program by which alcohol was denatured with lethal chemicals far above the normal levels in order to deter drinking. When it was clear that people would still drink the toxic (but not deadly) denatured alcohol, the government upped the ante and used lethal levels of chemicals. The program continued with the new goal of eliminating the drinkers who supposedly comprised the ills of society! By some estimates thousands were killed from the denatured alcohol.

3) Not Illegal?

Facts About Prohibition You May Not Have Known

Via/ Flickr

It wasn’t technically illegal to drink during Prohibition, just to make, sell, or transport alcohol for non-medical purposes. And, booze was still sold in the forms of sacramental wine, medicinal prescriptions and tonics.

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