The Petrified Forest Historical Context

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Organized Crime

A new era for crime in America arose in the 1920s when the Eighteenth Amendment to the Constitution ushered in Prohibition. For decades, temperance groups had fought to outlaw alcohol, citing clear and overwhelming evidence of its negative effect on society. Sale and consumption of liquor was prohibited in the United States from January 1, 1920, until 1933, when the Eighteenth Amendment was repealed.

An unanticipated result of Prohibition was that it gave rise to a criminal class that had previously been scattered. Even though it was illegal, people still wanted liquor and were willing to pay for it, which meant that there was a handsome profit to be made for anyone willing to flout the law. In small towns and rural areas, moon shiners, who made their own product in stills put together out of copper kettles and tubing, often provided liquor. Local people, sometimes even those involved...

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This section contains 1,023 words
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The Petrified Forest from Drama for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.