Menu
Image 1 of
Zoom In
Zoom Out
Fullscreen

S.J. Res. 17, Joint Resolution proposing a prohibition amendment to the Constitution of the United States, December 14, 1917

In 1917 Senator Morris Sheppard of Texas, a longtime prohibitionist, introduced a resolution for a constitutional amendment. It banned the manufacture, transportation, and sale (but not the consumption) of intoxicating liquors in the United States. It passed both houses that year, and three-fourths of the states ratified it in 1919. The Eighteenth Amendment became effective in 1920.

Records of the U.S. House of Representatives, National Archives and Records Administration

S.J. Res. 17, Joint Resolution proposing a prohibition amendment to the Constitution of the United States, December 14, 1917

The Eighteenth Amendment: Prohibition

The Eighteenth Amendment to the Constitution prohibited the manufacture, sale, or transport of alcoholic beverages. It was the product of a temperance movement that began in the 1830s. The movement grew in the Progressive Era, when social problems such as poverty and drunkenness gained public attention. Groups like the National Woman’s Christian Temperance Union, founded in 1874 and led by Frances Willard, made prohibition a national issue and pressed Congress for action. In 1917 Congress approved a resolution for a prohibition amendment. It was ratified in 1919 but later repealed.

This alcoholic drug adds poverty of the blackest, dreariest, and most hopeless sort to the list of its offenses. Such is its power that men will take bread money from their families and make it blood money for drink.

Senator Morris Sheppard of Texas, Speech to the U.S. Senate, July 30, 1917