The Cultural Divide During the Prohibition Era
The cultural divide during the 1920s has certain aspects that evoke similar feelings and emotions as to the clash in the present. To be straightforward, the prohibition of alcohol was an issue that, despite major controversies, was passed. Politicians and lawmakers argued that drinking alcohol was bad for one’s health and harmed the body. Drinking alcohol has been heavily connected to liver damage, cancers, cardiovascular illnesses, pneumonia, and depression. They also believed that alcohol ruined families and caused poverty. Alcohol tended to be a major part of spending for alcoholics in low and middle-income families.
This, in turn, took money away from the essentials like debts, education, children, healthcare, food, and housing. With no money to pay rent, people were forced to sleep on the streets. Lawmakers had similar reasons to ban cannabis. Researchers have identified marijuana as a “gateway drug” to more harmful substances like heroin, which can be fatal and extremely dangerous for one’s health. Marijuana has also been advertised as a drug for hippies and stoners and was given an addictive perception that can lead to poverty and contribute to illegal activities. Many controversies emerged as the minorities showed great opposition to this ban much like alcohol. Those aren’t the actual reasons why alcohol and marijuana were prohibited, The government had motives for prohibition which they didn’t publicly disclose.
Beer consumption was extremely potent in the 1900s in part, due to the influx of immigrants entering the country, including the Irish and Germans. They set up breweries and became successful leading up to prohibition. Supporters of prohibition, like the Anti-Saloon League targeted these groups to stop the brewing industry and keep more foreigners from entering the country. The increased crime rates and unconventional drinking habits helped convince Americans that the brewers were aliens that have corrupted the American society.
The complications with World War I also further incriminated Germans. With that in mind, this objective wasn’t overtly announced by lawmakers as it would make their decision to ban alcohol seem more prejudiced. This idea continues to resonate with marijuana prohibition. In the 1910s, Mexicans started immigrating into America and brought the tradition of smoking weed along with them. Marijuana became popular with many other groups as a result. To target minorities and discourage more foreigners from entering the country, claims about the addictive qualities, violent activities, and mental illnesses associated with pot were made. The truth behind the illegalization of marijuana, even though not generally publicize, came from the xenophobia in federal officials.
To conclude, the grounds for societal disunity in both the 1920s and now, spring from corresponding influences.
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