Hanover College Triangle on

the Twenty-First Amendment

March 21, 1933

Prohibition in the United States sparked many controversies. With talk of repealing prohibition, some Hanover students and faculty spoke out.

Legal prohibition of alcohol began after the 1919 ratification of the Eighteenth Amendment, which prohibited the manufacture, sale, and transportation of alcoholic beverages in the United States. Controversial before and after the amendment's ratification, it split politics for twenty-four years and beyond. The presidential election of 1924 produced a "dry" president, Herbert Hoover. Re-elected in 1928, he promised to reassess the government's support of prohibition legislation. By 1929, popular support was beginning to wane as people questioned the effectiveness of prohibition. The Great Depression drove people to a more capitalistic mindset, and eventually, in March 1933, Congress met to revise the Volstead Act to allow for the manufacture and sale of beer. - Luke Zwanziger '08

Source: Victor Bondi, ed., American Decades, 1930-1939 (Detroit: Gale Research Inc., 1994), 445-447.

N.B. The text below is transcribed verbatim, including the occasional typographical error.

"Harris Discusses Liquor Situation and Lawlessness," Hanover College Triangle, 21 March, 1933.

"Liquor has never been fully controlled in this country," said Professor H.M. Harris in an address to the Hanover Student body Wednesday morning March 15, in Chapel. Professor Harris, in discussing the Prohibition situation observed that Americans are a lawless people. This is, in general, a heritage of the frontier. In the cities the lawlessness is a reflection of conflicting national ideals not yet fully integrated. The question concerning liquor is whether it ought to be controlled or destroyed.

"We are living in an eddy or backwash of a Great War in which forty million men fought. Hundreds of billions in wealth was destroyed. Spiritual values were lowered."

Professor Harris discussed the ratification bill and the delegates that are to be sent from Indiana and the instructions that they will be given. He also asked these questions; "What is put forward in naked repeal?" "What is liquor essentially?" "It is a habit forming narcotic?" "We have outgrown it. As for the U.S. Protecting dry states, that is a manifest impossibility."

"I predict," said Professor Harris in closing, "that if liquor comes back it will be an interim like the period after the Missouri Compromise, which pleased nobody much and settled nothing. This and the Kansas-Nebraska bill actually hastened Civil War, which finally settled the question. Nothing is ever settled until it is settled right.

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