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ERIC Number: ED463204
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2000
Pages: 33
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
The Volstead Act and Related Prohibition Documents. The Constitution Community: The Emergence of Modern America (1890-1930).
Kelly, Kerry C.
In 1917, after much agitation for alcohol prohibition by many temperance societies and organizations, the House of Representatives wanted to make Prohibition the 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and sent the amendment to the states for ratification. Thirteen months later enough states said yes to the amendment. It was now against the law to manufacture, sell, and transport alcoholic liquors. In this lesson, students examine primary source documents to find out why the "great social and economic experiment, noble in motive and far reaching in purpose" as Herbert Hoover called it, did not work. They also identify the changing values and cultural pressures at the beginning of the 20th century. The lesson relates to the power of Congress to amend the Constitution as specified in Article V, and also relates to Amendment 18, which banned alcohol, and to Amendment 21 which repealed national Prohibition. It offers 9 documents as primary sources, including photographs, the 18th and 21st Amendments, the Volstead Act, memos and letters, and the Presidential Proclamation 2065 of December 5, 1933. The lesson correlates to the National History Standards and to the National Standards for Civics and Government. It presents the historical background for Prohibition (with five resources). It suggests teaching activities for classroom implementation, including document analysis, creative writing, creating a political cartoon, writing a recommendation, brainstorming, and discussing some of today's social problems. Appended are a written document analysis worksheet, a cartoon analysis worksheet, and the primary source documents. (BT)
National Archives and Records Administration, 700 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20408. Tel: 866-325-7208; e-mail: For full text:
Publication Type: Guides - Classroom - Teacher
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Practitioners; Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, DC.
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: United States Constitution