Today we celebrate the anniversary of the 21st Amendment (ratified December 5, 1933). Here’s what you need to know:
WHAT IT DOES
The 21st Amendment repealed the 18th Amendment, thus ending Prohibition.
WHY IT WAS ADDED
After 13 years of Prohibition, America had had enough of its “noble experiment” in banning the manufacture, sale, and transportation of intoxicating spirits. Enforcement of the ban had failed. Plus, the potential for revenues from taxes on alcohol and for new jobs in a revived alcohol industry received heightened interest with the onset of the Great Depression. “It was really the Depression that ended Prohibition as much as anything else,” said Daniel Okrent, curator of American Spirits: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition, at a recent event.
With the passing of the 21st Amendment, the 18th Amendment became the first–and so far, only–constitutional amendment to be repealed.
SECTION. 1. The eighteenth article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States is hereby repealed.
SECTION. 2. The transportation or importation into any State, Territory, or Possession of the United States for delivery or use therein of intoxicating liquors, in violation of the laws thereof, is hereby prohibited.
SECTION. 3. This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by conventions in the several States, as provided in the Constitution, within seven years from the date of the submission hereof to the States by the Congress.
Civic holidays are occasions to commemorate America’s history, celebrate our rights and responsibilities as citizens, and learn about our constitutional ideals. Download a PDF of the 2013 Civic Calendar here.
Holly Munson is the assistant editor of Constitution Daily.