In 1932, Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) had won the presidential election, running on a platform which called for the repeal of the 18th Amendment which had taken effect on January 16th, 1920 and brought about national Prohibition of alcoholic beverages.
Once FDR’s administration was in place, the wheels began moving toward repeal, the Nobel Experiment had become a flop. The first step was that FDR asked congress to modify the Volstead act, and allow 3.2% beer to be legal, as well as federally taxed. Thus on April 7th, 1933, beer became legal. But repealing the 18th Amendment in its entirety would be a little harder. To do that, it would take 3/4ths of the states to vote in a new Amendment to the constitution, a process which would take a little more time.
One by one, the states stood up and presented their vote on the 21st Amendment, and so it was that on December 5th, 1933, that Utah became the 36th state to vote for repeal, and Prohibition officially came to an end.
It was still possible for individual states to retain Prohibition within their boundaries, and several states did, but one by one they followed the national lead. Kansas ended their state Prohibition in 1948, Oklahoma in 1959, and Missouri became the final state to repeal their Prohibition in 1966.
This does not mean that alcohol is legal throughout the US, it is still possible for counties and townships to impose their own restrictions on alcohol, and thus there are still “dry” pockets throughout the US.
So, celebrate with the rest of us, and on December 5th, raise a cocktail to the Repeal of Prohibition. On April 7th, you can then raise a pint, and celebrate beers return to America as well!
- Jeffrey Morenthaler’s request for "Repeal Day" to rise above St. Patricks Day, and Cindo de Mayo as recognized "drinking" holidays.
- Details on Schlafly Beer’s "Repeal of Prohibition Festival" for April 7th, 2007.
- RealBeer.com’s announcement of "New Beer’s Eve".
- Details from DISCUS.org regarding the 2003 "70th Anniversary" of repeal
- Wikipedia’s entry for Prohibition in the US, as well as the Repeal of Prohibition.
- A couple of newsreel videos on YouTube which report on repeal (Video1, Video2)
- An account of repeal in Seattle Washington.
- Details on Oregon’s repeal.
- The text of the 21st Amendment.
- The text of the 18th Amendment.
- The Volstead Act and related prohibition documents.