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tv   The Rise Fall of Prohibition  CSPAN  February 2, 2020 7:59am-9:11am EST

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>> he is the author of the : alcohol inhangover america from demon rum to cult prohibition in washington, d.c.: how dry we were not. >> good evening. i'm so glad you are here tonight. welcome. if you are joining us for the first time, an open invitation to explore the wide range of activities we offer at smithsonian associates. now is the perfect time to silence your cell phones. we are thrilled tonight to welcome author garrett peck back to the smithsonian. headdition to the many tours
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leaves at the smithsonian, his temperance tour of prohibition sides has been featured on c-span. a two-hourured on documentary about prohibition on the smithsonian channel. key is the author of seven books, including prohibition in washington, d.c., how dry we weren't. and the great war in america, world war i and its aftermath, which was published in 2018. before we get started, i want us ininvite you to join the lobby to sample a prohibition era cocktail. please join me in welcoming garrett peck. [applause] good evening, everyone.
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thank you so much for coming out for our wake, our dry wake. 100 years ago today, at 12:01, once the clock ticks over from january 16 to january 17, that was the exact moment federal prohibition began. a lot of sour faces here in the room. we are going to commemorate this. after the event here tonight, we will have a chance to celebrate our right to drink with a french 75 cocktail in the lobby. i appreciate everyone coming here tonight and for c-span coming tonight. thank you so much. i kind of warned a few people here about this image you see on the screen. this is a rather triggering image, especially for a beer drinker like myself. one of the most famous shots
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from prohibition. the police commissioner john leach in the hat overseeing them throwing the beer down the drain. it is really unfortunate. i want to cover tonight how prohibition came to be and why it did not last, why it lasted less than 14 years. today, most of the strength, and we don't think anything of it. prohibition did not just appear magically on its own. there was actually a giant movement in american history that pushed this upon the country. that movement was the temperance movement. this year, in the library of congress, the temperance movement was the century long social reform movement that was part of the progressive era intended to make americans better people and more middle-class and sober.
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idea initially was that they would try to get people to drink more moderately. stop tracking so much whiskey, and instead drink beer and wine. by the 1830's, more radicals had seized charge of the movement, and they decided no one could drink anything at all. if you drink at all, you are on the slippery slope to becoming a drunkard, as they called alcoholism back then. drinking.y demonized showing king alcohol and his prime minister. king and his prime minister next to him, death. you might notice some of the things in the foreground. there is a family over here to the right, minus their father. of course, you have a weeping widow in the foreground. women were so important to the temperance union -- the temperance movement.
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often women were victimized because their husbands were drinking so much. the temperance movement did not come out of nowhere. it was a legitimate societal response to the heavy drinking of the 1820's. they just took it to the extreme that no one should drink at all, and we should also change the constitution to ban out the hall. women are so important to this movement. 1873 was the beginning of the women's christian temperance union. this is the ground zero for temperance, the state of ohio. you have such a large number of german immigrants, and they controlled all the breweries. this is where the wctu was founded. frances willard is this incredible woman in american history. she is the first woman to get a statue in statuary hall in the u.s. capital.
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she is from the state of illinois. she was one of the leading proponents of women's rights in our history, our country's history. i really take my hat off to her even if i don't agree with her on the antialcohol stance. wasmotto for the wctu take up everything. they took up domestic violence, children working in factories, it was incredible. unfortunately, the women did not have the vote yet. women had influence, but they could not actually vote on these different issues. wctu numberedhe a quarter of a million members. they got into the classrooms. they had a lot of heavy-handed moralizing they took into the
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classrooms. they also built numerous water fountains all around the country. here in d.c. we have a water fountain not put up by the ctu, and here in d.c., we have the codswell water fountain. this is our temperance fountain. fountain.s an active the symbol was to tell people to drink water instead of whiskey. this was corrected in the 1880's when temperance was becoming a massive national movement. years or so of the wctu, that moral persuasion thing was not taking root.
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people were still drinking. it was not having a big effect. americans had shifted away from drinking whiskey, and now they were drinking beer. beersince the civil war, has been our national beverage. league,the anti-saloon they only existed for 40 years. they disbanded in 1933. this is the organization that gives us the prohibition amendment. anyone here hear of wayne wheeler? probably the most powerful lobbyist in american history. he invented this term pressure politics. he figured out how to squeeze the politicians to force them to vote dry even if they were wet and their personal lives. every politician's first job is
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to get elected. he made sure if a politician issue,him on the wet-dry he made sure they would not get reelected. the temperance movement was a white evangelical protestant faith based initiative. it was a progressive initiative. we tend to think today in terms of dry counties being very conservative. this was a progressive movement. this was about making americans better people using the power of the government to make us into better people. very important for the anti-saloon league, they formed an alliance. this alliance engendered two important constitutional amendments that both went into effect in 1920. obviously one of them is prohibition. the other one you can probably guess from this particular
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photo, which is the suffrage amendment. the 18th amendment and the 19th amendment. suffragistshe whiteting in front of the house because president woodrow wilson had not yet come out supporting the 19th amendment. wayne wheeler had this alliance together with the suffrage movement that way both of them could get their way. this alliance that fell apart after 1920 once younger women got the right to vote, and they decided they wanted to go visit the speakeasy too. there is one thing in american history that really makes prohibition come about. i should back up really quickly. the anti-saloon league recognized, wayne wheeler said in a public statement at some point, we need to change the constitution quickly because this is our very last chance
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because 1917, considering where the country was, in 1920 there is going to be a census taken, and they could see how much the city's are starting -- cities were starting to outnumber the countryside. the majority920, of americans would be in the city, and that would outweigh the temperance movement, which was more rural. leading up to 1920, we have the highest proportion ever of immigration into our country. one third of americans were foreign-born or had a parent born overseas. in many ways, the temperance movement is a nativist movement because many of these immigrants who were coming in in the 1880's and beyond were catholic or russian jews. all of these people are bringing in their drinking habits with
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them. these protestants living in the heartland, we don't recognize need toople, and we conform them to the way we are living. they should not be drinking alcohol. in a lot of ways, prohibition is targeted at all of these catholic immigrants coming into the country. realityes prohibition a is the event that leads up to this poster, world war i. we declare war against germany on april 6, 1917, and you all know who the biggest ethnic group in the country at the time were, german-americans. yes, who the brewers were, germans. they were the biggest bulwark against the anti-saloon league. as soon as we declared war wheelergermany, wayne began spinning beer drinking to
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treason with a lot of propaganda. they did all kinds of things brewersey had the association had been funding newspapers and so on, and they brought out a lot of these shenanigans through senate hearings. this is all about further marginalizing them during world war i. they spun beer drinking into treason during this time. in 1917, they brought forth the 18th amendment, and it sailed through congress without a lot of debate. most of the american public, as the polls were going to ratify the 18th amendment, the majority of states ratified the amendment during the war itself because part of the selling point was the need to save grain to feed our soldiers during the war, and we need sober soldiers who can
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fight the german army. we will ignore the fact that the german army was drinking beer and the french army was drinking wine. it is all part of the propaganda of selling the dry cost to the country. we need to do this. when you prohibition to win the war. most people thought when they were voting for this that they were simply outlawing liquor, not realizing beer and wine were also being outlawed. they were in for a very big surprise. everybody has got to hand out of eight prohibition era cocktails. the first one is one of my all-time favorites. it is the french 75. this is a cocktail invented during world war i. it has a couple of different origin stories.
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one features a british army unit getting together with a french unit, and kind of like the rhesus peanut butter cup, you remember the commercial from the 1970's. they made this cocktail. other people say it was invented in new orleans and so on. i was an artillery officer myself when i was in the army. this was an incredible top-secret project from the french. the germans called this thing the double gun. it was so accurate. it could fire off about six shots a minute, and every shell would land in the same spot. it was a really small gun. two men could transport it around. because the u.s. had almost no armaments capability during the war, we had to borrow almost everything from the french. s, airplanes, and artillery pieces, we had to borrow from the french army. the very first artillery shell
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is at the woodrow wilson house. i am on the board, by the way. here it is. this is a french 75 artillery shell. president wilson felt such a responsibility for sending off these 2 million soldiers to fight in the trenches of france, so he kept it in his bedroom so he could see it directly when he woke up in the morning. he felt that responsibility of sending the nation to war. americane famous commanded a battery of french 75's during world war i, and it is this man, the only future president to fight in world war i, harry s truman from kansas city. when he letars old his battery of kansas city misfits. them were catholic. they were an ill disciplined group. he whipped them into shape. he led them very effectively
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during the war. his unit was mostly catholic, and the soldiers that were in his battery that became lifelong friends and political supporters of him, they were getting to talk to they saw the prohibition -- to talk. they saw the prohibition amendment had passed on ju anuary 6, 1919. harry truman writes to his anyway itnd he says, looks to me like the moonshine business is going to be pretty good in the land of liberty and and someding stamps, of us want to get in on the ground floor. do there inwant to time to lay in a supply for future consumption. i think a quart of bourbon will be enough to last me for 40
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years. they were already making plans to belay. -- bootleg. it is just kind of like, what were they thinking? how was this ever going to work? amendment was ratified by the state of nebraska on january 16, 1919. i will put up the first part so you can read it. i highlighted the most important manufacture,s the sale, and transportation of intoxicating liquors is hereby prohibited. to defineo have a law what did they mean by intoxicating liquors. most people thought they were going to outlaw distilled spirits, liquor. eler was like no,
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anything with alcohol in it. i will show this to you next. andrew volsted of minnesota. he was a republican, and he chaired the house judiciary committee. he had charge of writing this bill. olsteadcalled the v act. iny for down in ignom writing this law. alcohol wasve .05% now illegal. anyone from calling near beer even near beer. this act had any number of loopholes. you've all heard of medicinal whiskey.
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before prohibition, the american medical association said alcohol is not medicine. we know that for a fact. it is not medicine. during prohibition, all the theyrs could prescribe, could make 100 prescriptions of a pint of whiskey for a month. all the doctors wanted to get in on this game. the ama changed tack. this was one of the major loopholes. you had sacramental wine because the catholic church, the jews, the lutherans, the episcopalians still needed wine for their services. that was one of the loopholes. you had many people suddenly declaring themselves to be jewish rabbis so they could distribute wine. they gave a huge license to the midwestern farmers. everyone could take 200 pounds of fruit.
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you can take all the fruit you want and make up to 200 gallons of preserved fruit. if you preserved fruit, it is going to ferment. if you leave an orange on your counter, i discovered this a couple of days ago, it fermented. you discover this right away. it is a natural process. you leave any fruit, and it will ferment. this is a natural process, fermentation. that was a carve out for the midwestern farmers and the italian immigrants. loopholes got written into the volstead act, and they were widely abused. president wilson himself actually vetoed the volstead act three weeks after his stroke. he was trying to sell the treaty nation.illes to the
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he was having missed barnstorming tour. he had these terrible headaches. his secondely ended term as president. the volstead act because wilson believed that wine and beer should still be wheelerut wayne believed otherwise, and he was so in control of the politicians de wilson'sss overro veto, thus we got this very strict interpretation of prohibition. once kind of amazing, people woke up, that is what we signed up for. yeah. wilson left the white house
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on march 4, 1921, he actually had a wine collection. he did not want to leave it behind because his successor warren harding was a known heavy drinker and a party boy. wilson got a permit from the prohibition bureau to transport his wine collection. if you had alcohol in your possession before prohibition, it was yours to keep. they were not going to take that away from you. personal possession was not outlawed, but you could manufacture, sell, or transport it. wilson had to get special permission to transport his wine collection from the white house .o his new estate come by the woodrow wilson house is appointed we have a prohibition tour that i lead sometimes. we have a prohibition era wine
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cellar. it is really unique. how many other houses in the country have original bottles? it is amazing. look right up front. that is quantro. the packaging has hardly changed. many of the bottles we believe the wilsons got from the french ambassador's house, which is effectively three blocks away. we had saved france from world war i. we believe wilson's got a perpetual resupply from the french embassy during prohibition. themselves were considered for territory, and therefore they could supply their own alcohol. another thing i wanted to point out to you was more time prohibition, which was -- wartime prohibition, which was an oxymoron. this gets attached to the
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prohibition bill 10 days after the war ends. senator morris sheppard attaches this on to the appropriations bill, effectively outlawing the sale of distilled spirits for the rest of the war. until we have a peace treaty, we can have no more distilled spirits sales. beer must1, 1919, all be under 2.75% alcohol. this is a saloon in new york city on june 30, 1919, the last night before people will have to shift down to 2.75% alcohol beer. do you notice what they are drinking? look at what they are all drinking. do you see a single cocktail? they are drinking beer because that was the only thing that was legal for them to drink at the
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time. what else is missing from the photo? there are no women in this because women did not go to saloons. not until the 1920's when the speakeasies came about. before hand, saloons were men's only culture. maybe some good things came out of prohibition. women got about, equal rights -- got the vote, equal rights. virginia yesterday ratified the equal rights amendment. [applause] my home state. 100 years agoarts today, right as the clock ticks over to january 17. at the first congregational church downtown, which is still there, all the leading prohibitionists got together and went through speech after speech. you got to see the guy who dried up the navy.
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wayne wheeler was there. william howard russell was there. most importantly, the man who spoke at midnight, william jennings bryan, the great commoner. he died about five years after this. his career at this point was really waning. he delivers this 45 minute dynamic sermon. who isares king herod, trying to kill the baby jesus, and how jesus escaped to egypt with his parents, and he made that analogy to jesus escaping triedpt to the wet cause to kill the 18th amendment. at the end of the speech, he declares victory. oughtare dead that s the child's life. they are dead.
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everyone thunderously applauds this. they believe the country is about to get a lot better. midnight comes, and this new babyis born, but this new is thirsty and cranky and wants a drink. [laughter] so prohibition begins. this is one of the very few actual dry congressman. georgia.pshaw from anis symbolically holding umbrella over the u.s. capitol, signifying that we are dry. of course, congress never went dry. congressman and senators continue to drink. it becomes a huge national embarrassment when the main bootleggers spilled the beans on all of them. we end up with prohibition lasting nearly 14 years, or as hl mencken called it, the 13
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awful years. mencken is an atheist and a very proud german-american. he sees the temperance movement for what it is, a reform movement trying to make us into better people. he is not having any of it. he is such a hilarious writer. he is one of the leading literary critics of the 19 teens and 1920's. he has a great sense of humor. he is kind of surrendering to the fact that prohibition is not going to be around. he says this is what we have got. he draws this comparison. back in the day we used to be up have steak, and now is to get all the stuff from our bootleggers. it is basically sandwiches and hot dogs.
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he writes this really funny article basically saying let us while waiting for the end of the methodist millennium to the best weekend. let's make the most of what the bootleggers are supplying this. inhad a car, which he sold 1918. to fill up proceeds a seller for alcohol. it he thought that would last to the duration of prohibition. four months later, the bootleggers were out there supplying alcohol. prohibition goes into effect in 1920. when tennessee ratifies the 19th
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amendment in 1920. women get to vote for the very first time in the presidential election. harding, onearren of the worst presidents ever. she was a fierce proponent of suffrage. get atime they would state, they would add another star to it. she is toasting the fact that the tennessee star is now attached to the suffrage flag. we get prohibition. there is a major question i've been asking myself. , wemended the constitution only have 27 amendments so far. it is hard to amend the constitution. the framers but that high hurdle in place to make sure we don't willy-nilly amend the constitution.
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they expect us to have national consensus around an issue before we monkey around with the constitution. aroundonsensus prohibition actually exist? why did prohibition fail? bootleggingle start ? i think there are a number of answers. the of it is the fact that anti-saloon league took such a decode in measure toward prohibition. they had to have zero tolerance. that's when they took away beer, long are national beverage. president wilson in 1920 called for congress to reinstate beer. in 1920the congressman as they were having the conventions, over 300 congressman complained that they were hearing from constituents that they wanted to have beer
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again. it's just amazing. it took a lot of people by surprise how are conan prohibition turned out to be. a lot of people said they were going to start drinking. there were bootleggers out there who were willing to supply the alcohol for a price. during prohibition, consumption of alcohol goes down. it is so much more expensive to buy it. there is a myth that people were drinking more than ever, that's actually not true. it's more expensive than ever before. many of the great bartenders went to paris during prohibition. one of the things that showed up almost right away, right off the coast of the united states was rum row.
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all of the ship captains were docking their shifts. call three miles offshore. speedboats were coming out to that limit, filling up the speedboats and race it back to shore, usually at night time. this became known as rum row. it was up and down the east coast. out of this idea of the three mile limit came the three-mile limit cocktail. this is one of the schooners that the coast guard seized. seizere only able to about 10% of the different ships. mid-1920's, the country negotiated an agreement with the british. the british one to keep bringing alcohol in others transatlantic -- on their transatlantic liners.
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they could do it if they granted the united states to ask band the three-mile limit out to 12 miles, so they could trap the bootleggers. , theut telling anyone coast guard captured a bunch of ships. now that we have a three-mile limit, the new cocktail is now called the 12 mile cocktail. those bartenders are pretty creative. you've got to flooding over the borders from the ocean, through candidate, coming down through detroit at a major point. alcohol is flooding into the country. many people are setting up distilleries, often in their bathrooms. could burnbootlegger the house down.
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bureau captured this one. it's kind of amazing. your bootlegger would give you cash money for it. right away, a lot of people thought about untaxed money. i will start producing alcohol as well. quickly, people started to break the law, whether they drank or not. we had a major moonshine culture in the country. everywhereed it around the country. it's pretty amazing. one of the more famous photos from prohibition is this slide showing a raid right here in washington dc of the speakeasy. this is very common form of speakeasy. hamill's lunchroom. it was rated three times. he had a legitimate business up front, a lunchroom. if he knew someone, you could
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say the passcode and they would invite you to the back for a little darkroom. you can go get a pint of beer. they pulled all the kegs of beer out of the cellar. they were rated three times. the notation,ce that is now the site of the department of justice. [laughter] this next photo is very heartbreaking for me. it's the prohibition bureau destroying 18,000 bottles of beer. the arlington dump. if were intercepted on the highway coming down from philadelphia and the judge ordered them destroyed. it's an amazing photo. you can see the bottles breaking. now the arlington dump, it is now utterly one of the
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pentagon parking lots. all the bottles are still there. they are just underground. of the great novels that comes out of prohibition is the satirical novel by sinclair lewis. pulitzer and the nobel prize. it was a novel called babbitt. he wrote it right here in sinclair circle. 1922, he has this one little statement in the book and i think he captures why prohibition is going to fail. it's an unknown character. it is on a train and he is passing a flask of gin. he makes this statement.
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he captured why prohibition is going to fail. everyone says it is for someone else to obey. not me. i'm going to keep resupplying. those catholics need to stop drinking. i'm a protestant, i can handle my booze. it is pure hypocrisy. the, only two years into noble experiment. publicady captured why sentiment is going to turn against it. we become a nation of hypocrites. the next cocktail is one of my all-time favorites. give it a try sometime. you need real grenadine for it. it's easy to make. make an equal amount and you have got grenadine. it's a very unusual cocktail.
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how does that work? it is delicious. it's also bright pink. it looks like a cosmopolitan. it tastes very different. it's one of my all-time favorite probationary cocktails. the scofflaw was invented in 1924. there is a guy named king who is a harvard graduate. seeing all upset at of the drinking going on at harvard. he sponsored the competition to come up with a word to name those lawbreakers. there was a $200 prize. two people came up with the name. it was announced on the anniversary of national prohibition. two people came up with the word "scofflaw." it is an ingenious word, someone
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who scoffs at the law. two weeks later, the cocktail was invented. particular word shows you the alliance that broke down between the suffrage movement and the temperance movement. now that women had the right to vote, now that it was illegal for everyone to go to a saloon to drink, now women could equally write the law and go to the speakeasies. sexual really our first revolution. family planning tools come into effect. women start cutting their hair. in 1925. was done women didn't cut their hair before the 1920's. she is showing how the young kids are partying today. you keep a flask in your garden.
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everyone does that today. started getting in on the game as well. and became fun to break the law. we became a nation of scofflaws. why did the country turn against prohibition? a couple of things happen. everyone saw the organized crime that was going on. chicagoin cities like more people were getting killed over who was going to control neighborhoods. day famously on valentine's the, al capone eliminates rival gang in chicago. they are machine-gunned by his gang in a garage. that makes national headlines. it really stunned country and
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showed how violent prohibition would become. so many people were saying this is out of control at this point. violence, the bribery, agents were horribly corrupt. all of the judges that were getting bribed, it was endemic in society. it was underlying democracy that was going on. people sought is a problem in the 1920's. how did we unwind prohibition? it took a crisis to get us to the 18th amendment, which was prohibition. it took another crisis to enable a political switch in the country. the democrats ran on the repeal platform. that crisis in the country appeared in late october 1929 when the stock market crashed.
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the great depression nailed the coffin shut on prohibition. suddenly at the trough of prohibition, a quarter of the workforce was out of work. by one third.rank it was unreal how bad the great depression was. the democrats seized on this. the republican party owned the 1920's. they own both houses of congress and all three presidencies of the 1920's. even though prohibition passed as a bipartisan measure, it was up to the republicans to enforce it. they were running the country. the democrats washed their hands of prohibition in 1930 and said we're going to call for a repeal amendment. when prohibition went into effect, the country lost quarter of a million jobs.
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1930, it looks good. they called for in and to prohibition. 1930, theis in leading prohibitionist in the senate, a man who sponsored the 18th amendment laid down the gauntlet. he made this very famous statement. there is as much chance of repealing the 18th amendment as there is a humming bird to with thee planet mars washington monument tied to its tail. that doesn't sound like a challenge, nothing is. right after this, and irishman and a captain during world war i , he is a real estate guy. thele might remember
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1980's. he gets together data points. i can take all the police data from all the raids and put them on a map and embarrass the dry cause. and in 1930 this made global news. considered theas model dry city. during prohibition, there were 3000 speakeasies. i do that's nothing compared to new york city, which had 50,000 speakeasies. this is the speakeasy map. he marked the spot where booze had been bought. this is pretty incredible. this was put together by the crusaders. they were crusading for the wet
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cause. thell point out some of stuff. dots.are 1155 they found alcohol. there were another 600 in 1931 were they did not find alcohol. he put up here -- those are federal offices where raids took place. the methodist building. the anti-saloon offers in the christian temperance union. temperance union. this is a piece of what propaganda, -- wet propaganda. it was very effective. he published this in 1930.
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about a month later, the main bootlegger for congress comes forward with an incredible story. everyone thinks about watergate being the first great scoop for the washington post. the first was george cassidy. he had bootlegged for congress for 10 years. the first five years, he worked on the house side. they like him so much, they gave him an office in the basement. he hauled liquor in a suitcase everyday. they would buy alcohol. it was great. he shifted over to the senate. and they send their secretaries down to get the booze. part of the plea agreement with the judge, he agreed he would not bootlegged again. he did later on.
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the washington post approached him. published six front-page articles in the washington post. the last one was published a week before the midterm election of 1930. that was a seismic election. this was wave -- a wave election. wetress was an openly democratic and republican majority. it's incredible. overets had taken congress. cassidy helped make this happen. i did not realize this hadn't shifted. there is george cassidy right there. that is him in october, 1930.
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some journalists pointed them out and said that guy in the green hat, he just got arrested. have a local distiller that open nothing 2012 that named jin after him. n after him, it is called green hat gin. the role of women is so important in undermining prohibition. in the late 1920's, this organization got together called fornational organization national prohibition reform. by the heir top
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the morton salt family. she got this organization thether to counter balance women's christian temperature in in, with claim they spoke for all women nationally. pauline morton satan had supported the dry cause. she realized it wasn't working. these are all very famous women. they were very ecumenical. they were working-class women. women of targeting every stripe to get them involved in this. women got very heavily involved in the organization. it was a national movement to reform prohibition. they endorsed the democratic appeal. morton herself was a republican. she said this is not working,
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support the democrats. that formed a counterbalance to the wt. i love this poster. this is that depression era are. to young women are pointing out that they should be supporting -- all the men should be supporting the repeal. prohibition and the great depression is underweight, prohibitions days are numbered. the idea that the anti-saloon league had and the temperance movement had shattered on reality. the country turned out to not be in support for this dry cause. there was so much lawbreaking going on it.
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the country got cynical about it. this genie back into the bottle and get control and repeal this amendment. erupted oncevement roosevelt ran on the repeal platform. the democrats have seized control of the government in the 1930's. they are running on the repeal platform. before he is sworn in, congress has already debated and passed the 21st amendment. that goes on to the states. ingets ratified astonishingly short time. the first state to ratify is michigan.
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this is a couple of days after roosevelt signed a law which declares 3.2% beer is not intoxicating. he had run on a platform of making beer legal again. theid not violate amendment. on april 6, the country when out and party. prohibition was coming to an end. states were lining up to ratify. the democrats now controlled the country. they put into the 21st amendment language that it would be ratified by a state convention. the states were lining up and
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voting one by one. how long do you get took? how long do they get took for us to ratify the 21st amendment? the 18th amendment took 13 months during the war. how long did the 21st amendment take? it took a little bit longer than that. it took eight months. this is going to stun everyone. over the did put it top was utah. 36th state in 1933. as repeal day. party like it's 1933. i know we want to get to eight
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q&a session. i've got a couple of more slides to talk about. for of my upcoming events the smithsonian associates, i've got a tool -- cool tour in maryland. we have a day to her on april 18. we get a bus to go out there area and we start off seen the castle. we get to see the quarry itself. lunch is at a winery. first we clungy to her for the smithsonian. it's where i grew up in california. is a five day tour of the california gold rush. that is in october. that's going to be a lot of fun. that is really beautiful countryside. you get to be with me for five days.
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i've got a quick announcement. i have a book coming out on june 2. it's a contemporary history called a decade of disruption. it's a history of all the stuff we lived through from meltdown to the great recession and everything in between. it's been a decade now. to see whatrtunity happened. that is coming up here in a few months. more, theseto read books have the topic of prohibition in them. if you orecent one, local history, prohibition in
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washington dc. that has 11 cocktail recipes in it, including the scofflaw and a bunch of others. i want to thank you so much for coming out tonight. [applause] we will be happy to take questions. question loudly and i will repeat it back to the audience. does anyone have questions? >> i'm sure they didn't want to go down without swinging. >> have the bootleggers respond to prohibition? they did not want repeal. they were making so much money tax-free.
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al capone and his gang were making money hand over fist. we forget about that. he is the most famous gangster in world history. he made his money being a bootlegger. was not just the dry cause, did notthe bootleggers want prohibition to and for financial reasons. >> what was the penalty for breaking the law? for the speakeasies? for a general person? was thetringent punishment for breaking the law? initially, it was fairly strict. you got a fine. you might get 90 days in jail. by the mid-1920's, it's not
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proving to be a deterrent. reopened right away because there was so much money to be made. citye mid-1920's, dark decides to padlock the businesses. that spreads around the country. the owners find another spot to reopen. that's a temporary measure. the one president who really tries to enforce prohibition is herbert hoover. the public is quite cynical about it. hoover gets into the white house and the public is already opposed. he is sworn in march 4. the country is cynical about prohibition. he says he's going to enforce it.
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most of the public is like why? it creates more cynicism. imposes passes which severe penalties. you have a five-year prison sentence and a $10,000 fine. it dramatically raises the penalty. , most were just reaching plea deals. getting a jurys trial. you can imagine how many thousands of bootleggers there are. there are so many trials have to be held. the judicial system, it's overwhelming. that's the unintended consequence of prohibition. so many people are breaking the law. it shows how unenforceable for whole thing is. it makes the public more cynical.
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it shows this cannot be enforced. >> today sponge the records? did they expunge the records? >> they did not. --d 1940's,s what drew you to that topic? >> half of my books are doing with her mission. it's partly family history. i come from a long line of methodists.
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the methodists were the first church to embrace the temperance movement. deal. a big 2003, i had my first book idea. the idea came directly from christmas eve. i had brought a really nice burgundy to my grandmothers. i was a with my mother and my grandmother. three generations. added --other taught tutted about the wine. this was a generation of value that did not pass on to us. my grandmother was protestant.
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they were taught to be ashamed of drinking. there was a stigma that her generation grew up with and that lasted into the 1970's and 80's. the baby boomers are the first generation that did not have a stigma around alcohol. drinking is just what we do. it's how we socialize. there is no stigma or shame. it is part of our lives. grandmother experienced was quite different. she insisted she didn't drink at all. after she died, we were cleaning some stuff out and we found a liquor cupboard. sociales along with the shame. if anyone sees you drinking, they're going to think you are a drunkard. you doinganybody see
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that. i empathize with that. we all have to deal with that today. another question in the back? completely unrelated, you mentioned earlier that a lot of people have misconceptions about speakeasies and what they were like. could you elaborate on that? my second question, do you see parallels between the move to legalize marijuana and the tradition and how it was made illegal in the first place? >> usually only one person asked us question. themselves, we create a lot of mythology around them.
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turn their homes into a place for you can buy a drink. you have a legitimate business , if you go to capitol , it was a candy store. they sold liquor out of the basement. to buy agoing there bottle. it wasn't like veeck on club where there was a jazz band playing and people were dancing. most places are not like that. they are not good places given the quality of the gin. in the case of scotch, you would add caramel and turpentine to it. the bootleggers are doing and people were drinking it.
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the other question we had about the legalization of cannabis, it's such an interesting question. you might remember this movie from the 1930's called reefer madness. it created a stigma around cannabis smoking. when prohibition ends, the country turns. now we have to target pot smoking. hot really demonized smoking. so does richard nixon. here we are with being a schedule 1 drug. it's with crystal methamphetamine and cocaine. i am not a pot smoker myself. many of my friends have come out of the woodwork. i know some conservatives who are as well.
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the shift that is underway in society, during the obama administration. the survey does a poll on this question. administration saw the majority of americans are in favor of legalization, you're only going to lose the battle politically. win out of this. that's why you see all of the states legalizing it for medicinal purposes. medical hard to get a prescription. the next step is legalization for personal use, which more states are doing now as well. i think you see the writing on the wall. favor. where i'm in i'm in favor of legalization. for the fact that somebody
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people have to buy pot illegally. consumers have no idea what they are buying. during prohibition, you were buying industrial alcohol. if there were some regulations. consumers will know what they thatuying, they know what is. if you buy a beer, you know it's 4.5% against my percent. you know which one to have or not to have. i'm all in favor regulations. consumers can make better picking itather than up from some guy on the corner. that's a long answer. another question? anyone? i think everyone is thirsty. i know i am. very good, everyone. thank you so much for coming tonight. [laughter] [applause]
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we have cocktails outside for you. we will toast to our right to drink alcohol. thank you for coming. >> this is american history tv on c-span3. we feature 48 hours of programs and loring our nation's past. nation's past.r >> next on "lectures in history", emory university professor carol anderson teaches a class about efforts in the 1960's to register african-american voters in mississippi. she describes some of the leaders of the movement, their tactics and the opposition they faced. carol: so as you know, on monday we ended with the freedom rides. the freedom wri


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