The 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution established Prohibition, banning the manufacture and transportation of intoxicating liquor in the United States. It was ratified by the states on January 16, 1919 and was followed shortly by the National Prohibition Act (Volstead Act), which defined the term intoxicating liquors after the Amendment failed to do so.
Prohibition movements found a foothold in the United States during the 19th Century, encouraged by religious groups who considered drunkenness a scourge upon the nation. By 1916, almost half the states had anti-saloon laws on the books, some of which also prohibited the manufacture of liquor.
In this environment of overwhelming support for anti-liquor laws, the 18th Amendment was ratified in 1919. However, the amendment was notoriously difficult to enforce. It wasnt long before Prohibition was blamed for causing more problems than it solved, including a dramatic surge in organized crime.
The 21st Amendment repealed the 18th Amendment on December 5, 1933. It marked the only time a constitutional amendment was ever repealed, with 93% of Congress voting in favor of the change.
After one year from the ratification of this article the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors within, the importation thereof into, or the exportation thereof from the United States and all territory subject to the jurisdiction thereof for beverage purposes is hereby prohibited.
The Congress and the several states shall have concurrent power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of the several states, as provided in the Constitution, within seven years from the date of the submission hereof to the states by the Congress.
The eighteenth article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States is hereby repealed.
The transportation or importation into any state, territory, or possession of the United States for delivery or use therein of intoxicating liquors, in violation of the laws thereof, is hereby prohibited.
This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by conventions in the several states, as provided in the Constitution, within seven years from the date of the submission hereof to the states by the Congress.