Eighteenth amendmen t constitutional amendment

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Eighteenth Amendmen t: Constitutional Amendment ratified in 1919 which outlawed the manufacture and sale of alcoholic beverages in the U.S. Put into effect by the Volstead Act, prohibition was the culmination of a campaign dating back to the 1820s, and its advocates (the moralistic Progressives) saw it as a
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means of reforming the whole society morally. The war effort and the identification of beer and spirits with evil and Germans (Coors, Busch, Schlitz, Hamms) promoted its passage. As a social experiment in raising and controlling people's morals, it failed but still exemplified one of the ways some people sought to use the government in the 20 th century. Many circumvented the ban, leading not only to widespread lawbreaking by common citizens and to the idea that "unreasonable" laws should not apply to "me" but also to the enrichment and solidification of organized crime as a form of big business. The 21 st Amendment repealed the 18 th in 1933. Esch-Cummins Act : Also known as the Railroad Transportation Act of 1920, it ended the wartime control of the railroads by the government, returned them to the private sector (contrary to demand for governmental ownership), and directed the Interstate Commerce Commission to plan a consolidation of the railroads into 20 to 35 systems. Hence, while the act also increased the ICC in size (11 members) and in responsibilities (set rates to yield returns of no more than 6% of the estimated value of the railroads) and while it established a Railroad Labor Board which proved unworkable and died in 1926, Congress had virtually reversed the Progressives’ goal of regulating big business and trying to prevent consolidation and monopolistic practices. The Esch-Cummins Act is symbolic of the return to a policy of government- business cooperation and of the renewed consolidation movement of the 1920s. Espionage and Sedition Acts: Federal legislation passed respectively in 1917 and 1918 to suppress dissent and criticism of the war effort. The Espionage Act (1917) made illegal any interference with recruiting troops, any resistance to laws, or any release of information jeopardizing national security. The Sedition Act (1918) made it a crime to criticize by speech or writing the government or Constitution of the U.S. Under these acts, the government arrested over 1500 people for disloyalty, suggesting society may agree to curtail freedoms if people think national security is threatened, a condition which was fairly common for much of the 20 th century. Similar restrictions would appear later. Eugenics Movement : The progressive social movement claiming to improve the genetic features of human populations through selective breeding and sterilization. A hallmark of the Progressive Era of the late 19th and early 20th century, eugenicists believed they could lower (or eliminate) the inferior elements of society.
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