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Chelsea DekeyserCarl BattagliaExpository WritingNovember 16, 2016Legal Drinking Age in AmericaThe legal drinking age in the United States is a controversial argument that has been sustained throughout the country’s history. From the prohibition, to recent laws pushed by Mothers Against Drunk Drivers, there has always been a debate on the legal drinking age. Most recently, it has increased from the age of 18, or the age citizens of the United States are considered legal adults, to the age of 21. At the age of 18 it is legal for anyone in the country to join the military, vote, or claim independence from family, yet individuals do not have the legal right to decide whether to drink or not. Other countries give their citizens the sovereignty to decide to drink or not at the ages of 16 and even 18. The higher drinking age has caused young adults to sneak drinking when they are not yet 21. Although the Mothers Against Drunk Drivers believed the increase in drinking would cause less fatalities, the drinking age should be lowered back down to the legal age of an adult, 18.The first step in America’s history to try to control who was able to consume alcohol or not was during the Prohibition. It started on January 17, 1920 and ended in 1934 (Gingold). Prohibition made drinking illegal, creating an uproar across the country, and leading to the start of bootlegging. Bootleg liquor such as moonshine was much stronger than the liquor we have today. It was revolutionary and citizens would pay the mobsters big money for it. Making alcohol illegal did not stop people from drinking. We had speakeasies also known as underground hidden bars and people would go and have a drink where they could get their hands Dekeyser 1
on the alcohol. This caused for crime increase due to the illegal drinking. Gingold states that “The mid-1920s saw the birth of organized crime” (Gingold). After all the crime, the governmentput the drinking age back to 18, but eventually turning to age 21.As a legal adult, citizens are allowed to enlist in the military once they turn 18, yet they are not legally allowed to drink until the age of 21. According to the United States military, “Minimum entrance-age requirements are 17 with parental consent or 18 without parental consent” (“Review Military”). The decision to join the military or to be drafted comes with the ability to be sent into combat putting one’s life in danger. Soldiers can become injured and potentially lose their life from this civic engagement. They are put on the front line to protect this country, and trusted to make correct decision while in battle, but are not trusted enough to come home to their family and other loved ones and consume alcohol. In addition, individuals in the military are required to have a high school diploma or pass the general education development test or GED. A GED is equivalent to a high school diploma and can be obtained by people who do not have a high school degree. Therefore, anyone in the military has to have the