PROHIBITION | Social movements spawned by the Progressive Era lead to the Volstead Act. Women saw alcohol as the eroding factor in the family unit. The amendment worked at first but enforcement proved difficult. Open rebellion became popular and gave rise to violence and organized crime. Gangsters like Al Capone rose up from prohibition by giving the people what they wanted: alcohol.
After the passage of the 18th Amendment and the Volstead Act in 1919, the making and selling of alcohol was illegal. This federal policeman uses a pickax to destroy a rum-runner's cargo in San Francisco during Prohibition.
Letter concerning the transportation of liquor from California to Washington. Record Group 56 Records of the Department of Justice, Bureau of Prohibition National Archives and Records Administration ARC Identifier: 298430
The Eighteenth Amendment was very short, but the law designed to enforce it was over 25 pages long. It was complex, confusing, difficult to interpret and – although this is sure hard to ascertain – probably one of the most disregarded laws in the history of the United States.