Full text: The alcohol problem

cent. of the total area of the United States and 68 
per cent. of the total population were under no-licence 
laws on January 16, 1920, when the Eighteenth 
Amendment to the American Constitution, with the 
accompanying Volstead Enforcement Act, came into 
operation. Prohibition had, as a matter of fact, been 
in operation for six months previously, owing to the 
special war-time legislation, whilst all brewing of beer 
had been stopped for over two years (viz., from 
December 1, 1917), in consequence of the shortage 
of food in Europe.* This restrictive action of the 
United States contrasted very favourably with our own, 
for we continued to brew about a third of our pre-war 
supply of beer, even when the sinking of food-carrying 
ships by submarines was at its worst. 
According to the Eighteenth Amendment, ‘the 
manufacture, sale or transportation of intoxicating 
liquors within, or the exportation thereof from the 
United States and all territory subject to the juris- 
diction thereof for beverage purposes, is hereby pro- 
hibited.” It was laid down that the Amendment 
would lapse unless thirty-six out of the forty-eight 
States ratified it within seven years, but as a matter of 
fact forty-six States have already ratified. Connecticut 
and Rhode Island alone failed to do so, but these two 
States contain less than a fiftieth of the total population 
of the United States. 
[ntoxicating liquor was defined to include any 
liquid fit for beverage purposes which contained more 
than o°5 per cent. of alcohol by volume. The liquor 
trade was not recognised to possess any vested interests, 
* Cf. P. W. Wilson, “After Two Years.” London, 1922, 
Dp. 28.

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