Constitutional alcohol Prohibition in the United States: Power, profit and politics
AuthorTaylor, Kristie A.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractWhy was national alcohol Prohibition repealed in the United States? Prohibition's repeal is unique in several respects. Alcohol Prohibition is the only American drug prohibition to ever be repealed, and the only constitutional amendment to ever be repealed. Furthermore, the volatility of Prohibition policy serves as a useful case for political sociology, which tends to focus on stable policies and government agencies. Prohibition's repeal is important substantively because it is the only American drug prohibition to be repealed. The question of repeal requires examination of several theoretical issues. First, is the process of creating a new policy fundamentally different from the process of dismantling an existing policy? Second, what effect does an exogenous crisis (like World War I or the Great Depression) have on state actor's response to the demands of a social movement? Third, what is the role of elites in a social movement? Fourth, what effect does the implementation of a policy have on those constituencies supporting it? I examine the substantive and theoretical issues of Prohibition's repeal using a variety of primary and secondary sources. National Prohibition resulted from the combined effects of crisis and elite social movement activity. Both were necessary for passage of the 18th Amendment. Implementation of the amendment proved difficult and had a destabilizing effect on Prohibition's supporters. Repeal of Prohibition resulted from the combined effects of implementation and crisis. The passage and repeal of Prohibition were the result of very different processes, suggesting that dismantling a policy is a different kind of political project than creating a policy.
Degree ProgramGraduate College