• "Gave Revenue Officers Tip," 1919 newspaper article. Courtesy of the Morrison County Historical Society, Little Falls, Minnesota.

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    The Pierz Journal (Pierz, Morrison County, Minnesota), 1919-05-01
    • Creator
    • F.L. Preimesberger (Pierz, Morrison County, Minnesota)
    • Rights
    • Use of these images is governed by U.S. and international copyright law. Please contact the Morrison County Historical Society for further information, PO Box 239, Little Falls, MN 56345.
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    • Minnesota Digital Library; Morrison County Historical Society
    • Is Part Of
    • http://reflections.mndigital.org/cdm/compoundobject/collection/p16022coll2/id/29927/rec/15

  • "Beer is Sold in Milwaukee," 1921 article regarding sale of medicinal beer. Courtesy of the University of Kentucky Special Collections Library.

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    Image 2 of Mountain eagle (Whitesburg, Ky.), November 18, 1921
    • Date
    • 1921
    • Creator
    • Mountain eagle (Whitesburg, Ky.).
    • Rights
    • This digital resource may be freely searched and displayed. Permission must be received for subsequent distribution in print or electronically. Physical rights are retained by the owning repository. Copyright is retained in accordance with U. S. copy... more
      This digital resource may be freely searched and displayed. Permission must be received for subsequent distribution in print or electronically. Physical rights are retained by the owning repository. Copyright is retained in accordance with U. S. copyright laws. Please go to http://kdl.kyvl.org for more information. less
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    • Kentucky Digital Library; University of Kentucky
    • Contributing Institution
    • University of Kentucky
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    • http://kdl.kyvl.org/catalog/xt7r222r5s85_2

  • "Beer Sign," 1931 article. Courtesy of the University of Kentucky Special Collections Library.

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    Theodore Dreiser (An American Tragedy), Time, November 23, 1931
    • Creator
    • Evans, Herndon J., 1895-1976.
    • Rights
    • This digital resource may be freely searched and displayed. Permission must be received for subsequent distribution in print or electronically. Physical rights are retained by the owning repository. Copyright is retained in accordance with U. S. copy... more
      This digital resource may be freely searched and displayed. Permission must be received for subsequent distribution in print or electronically. Physical rights are retained by the owning repository. Copyright is retained in accordance with U. S. copyright laws. Please go to http://kdl.kyvl.org for more information. less
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    • Kentucky Digital Library; University of Kentucky
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    • http://kdl.kyvl.org/catalog/xt7zcr5n9g1t_19_10

  • Clip from interview with Nathan H. Kaplin, who discusses pharmacists selling whiskey during Prohibition and making "drugstore gin." Courtesy of the University of Kentucky Special Collections Library.

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    Interview with Nathan H. Kaplin, March 31st, 1979
    • Date
    • 1979
    • Creator
    • Nathan H. Kaplin; interviewee. Dwayne Cox; interviewer.
    • Rights
    • This digital resource may be freely searched and displayed. Permission must be received for subsequent distribution in print or electronically. Physical rights are retained by the owning repository. Copyright is retained in accordance with U. S. copy... more
      This digital resource may be freely searched and displayed. Permission must be received for subsequent distribution in print or electronically. Physical rights are retained by the owning repository. Copyright is retained in accordance with U. S. copyright laws. Please go to http://kdl.kyvl.org for more information. less
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    • Kentucky Digital Library; University of Kentucky
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    • http://kentuckyoralhistory.org/interviews/17790

The 18th amendment prohibited the manufacture, transport and sale of alcohol in the United States, but did not specify how the ban was to be enforced. The Volstead Act identified penalties, defined “intoxicating liquors” and specified exceptions, such as medical use. Enforcement was difficult due to a number of factors. A significant proportion of the public had been accustomed to (legally) drinking alcohol and viewed the new law as unnecessary or an imposition of someone else’s moral code.

As a result, many defied the ban or supported those who defied it. Organized crime gangs grew wealthy supporting illegal alcohol trade, and could pay off poorly-paid enforcers. Finally, the degree of opposition to prohibition was underestimated and the resources provided for enforcement were insufficient.