Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Day169/365 A Chance to Shine

Ninety years ago today the ultimate in Halloween horror, the biggest trick without a treat, the Volstead Act was passed by Congress.

You may know it as Prohibition.

Thanks to the Anti-Saloon League, the Women's Christian Temperance Union, and the axe-wielding Carrie Nation, a majority of states ratified the proposal to ban the sales of alcohol nationwide, and it became law on October 28, 1919.

Legislating morality works right?

They couldn't get away with this under our modern day haz mat laws....

By all means, let's keep children out of bars. And the guy in the strange blue suit too....

Prohibition was the best thing that ever happened to Franklin County. Most of the population here was (and still is) Scots-Irish, and the Scots have been famous for their distilling skills for a thousand years. The streams ran clear and cold here, the hollows were numerous, and the distilling began.

Finally all those descendants of Scots had a product the country wanted. It raised the standard of living for everyone in Franklin County - families were clothed, children fed, houses built, cars bought, in short, life was good. A trifle violent at times, but good.

At one point in time, it was said that every family in Franklin County benefited directly from the moonshine trade, and when the Feds came in the 1930s, it became apparent the judges, lawyers, commonwealth attorneys, and the police force had also benefited.

Alas, all good things must end. After thirteen years of the good life, Prohibition was repealed in 1933, and life in Franklin County more or less went back to normal. (For the most part, although there are still streams running fast and cold, and numerous mountain hollows, and still kids needing to be fed.....)

Turns out you can't legislate morality. People do what they do, whether other people approve or not.

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