On the heels of yesterday’s post, I became a little curious about Iowa during Prohibition.
I tracked down this link by David J. Hanson, Ph.D. on Alcohol Problems and Solutions, which paints an ugly picture for the land of my birth:
“The state of Iowa had led the way to Prohibition, being one of the three most strongly pro-Prohibition states in the union. It had instituted its own state-wide prohibition in 1916, four years before National Prohibition was established, and it was the home of several national leaders of the prohibition movement.”
The illegal end of culture and imbibing became dangerous. Crime ripened; Prohibitionists like John Brown Hammond advocated violence; and the U.S. government sought to poison industrial alcohols to avoid their use in a bootleg beverage, the result of which is some 10,000 unnecessary deaths.
Fortunately, clearer heads prevailed a few years later, with even a few teetotallers admitting that the Noble Experiment was wrong:
“When Prohibition was introduced, I hoped that it would be widely supported by public opinion and the day would soon come when the evil effects of alcohol would be recognized. I have slowly and reluctantly come to believe that this has not been the result. Instead, drinking has generally increased; the speakeasy has replaced the saloon; a vast army of lawbreakers has appeared; many of our best citizens have openly ignored Prohibition; respect for the law has been greatly lessened; and crime has increased to a level never seen before.”
-John D. Rockefeller, Jr., 1932
From my experience, many of the same points Rockefeller conceded are very much alive and well in the under-21 crowd. But I don’t suppose that the States are ready to align with the norms, teachings and laws of most of the rest of the world on that one.
We can at least be thankful that the streams of whiskey are once again flowing, and that finally, Iowa brewers can throw down a double IPA if they wish.
I babbled about Prohibition a couple of years ago here.