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Topics in Chronicling America - Prohibition

In an effort to make the nation "bone dry" and protect families from the effects of alcohol abuse, breweries, saloons, and distilleries are forced to close their doors after the ratification of the 18th Amendment on January 16, 1919. Ushering in the Prohibition Era, the legal enforcement of the law one year later sent the message of "let rum alone" to Americans, but also gave rise to the illegal production and sale of liquor and increased gang-related violence. Read more about it!

The information and sample article links below provide access to a sampling of articles from historic newspapers that can be found in the Chronicling America: American Historic Newspapers digital collection ( Use the Suggested Search Terms and Dates to explore this topic further in Chronicling America.


Jump to: Sample Articles

Important Dates:

  • August 1, 1917 The Senate passes a resolution to present a constitutional amendment prohibiting the sale or consumption of alcohol to the states for ratification.
  • December 17-18, 1917 The House of Representatives & the Senate pass a revised resolution.
  • January 16, 1919 The 18th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States is certified, having been ratified by 46 states.
  • October 28-29, 1919 House and Senate pass Volstead Act over presidential veto.
  • January 17, 1920 Legal enforcement begins.

Suggested Search Strategies:

  • [Try the following terms in combination, proximity, or as phrases using Search Pages in Chronicling America.] Prohibition, Amendment, Dry, Volstead Act, Sheppard Dry Amendment, Temperance.
  • It is important to use a specific date range if looking for articles for a particular event in order to narrow your results, e.g., August 1 - 3, 1917; December 17 – 19, 1917; January 16-18, 1917; October 26-31, 1919; January 18, 1920.
  • The 18th Amendment was alternately known as the Prohibition Amendment or the Dry Amendment. The Volstead Act, which was passed in 1919, was the legislation enabled by the Amendment that allowed the states to enforce the prohibition of alcohol.

Sample Articles from Chronicling America:

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  July 23, 2013
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