04 December 2006
Eat Drink and Be Merry
December 5, 1933
Prohibition ended on this date thanks to a state where almost no one but the tourists drink. Be sure to thank Mitt Romney if you bump into him on the campaign trail. He may be running on empty against McCain and Giuliani, but at least the attempt can be toasted with high octane egg nogs for the holidays.
The 21st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is ratified, repealing the 18th Amendment and bringing an end to the era of national prohibition of alcohol in America. At 5:32 p.m. EST, Utah became the 36th state to ratify the amendment, achieving the requisite three-fourths majority of states' approval. Pennsylvania and Ohio had ratified it earlier in the day.
On January 29, 1919, the 18th Amendment achieved the necessary three-fourths majority of state ratification. Prohibition essentially began in June of that year, but the amendment did not officially take effect until January 29, 1920.
In the meantime, Congress passed the Volstead Act on October 28, 1919, over President Woodrow Wilson's veto. The Volstead Act provided for the enforcement of Prohibition, including the creation of a special Prohibition unit of the Treasury Department. Prohibition, failing fully to enforce sobriety and costing billions, rapidly lost popular support in the early 1930s.
In 1933, the 21st Amendment to the Constitution was passed and ratified, ending national Prohibition. After the repeal of the 18th Amendment, some states continued Prohibition by maintaining statewide temperance laws. Mississippi, the last dry state in the Union, ended Prohibition in 1966.