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Ban Everything: Concern Over Future Blue Laws During the Lead Up to Alcohol Prohibition

If they can ban alcohol, whats next? No baseball?

1919 illustration in Life magazine showing a future exodus from the U.S. over new bans (Source: Predictions by John Durant)

Anytime the government tries to ban something there are usually loud warnings about slippery slopes and guesses as to what perfectly reasonable American past-time might be banned next. If New York City bans trans fats (as it did in 2007), what’s next? Smoking in its parks? Oversized sodas? Oh, right. It banned those things too, with mixed success.

Perhaps the most notorious ban in U.S. history was our national experiment in forced sobriety. The United States ratified the 18th Amendment in January of 1919 which outlawed the sale of alcohol and many people were (understandably) not pleased. The one-year gap between the ratification of the amendment and it becoming the enforced law of the land led many people in 1919 to speculate (and joke) about the repercussions.

Life magazine ran a number of illustrations in 1919 predicting what would happen after the law went into effect. Their most dire guess? A mass exodus. This “Great Exodus of 1925″ would be thanks to new bans on everything from baseball to pork and beans:

  • No Dancing
  • No Golf
  • No Pie
  • No Kissing
  • No Theatres
  • No Smoking
  • No Tiddly-Winks
  • No Baseball
  • No Pork and Beans
  • No Ice Cream
  • No Lemonade
  • No Candy
  • No Golf
  • 6 p.m. curfew

No ice cream? That’s just about the darkest dystopian prediction we’ve ever looked at here on the Paleofuture blog.

Of course, the 18th Amendment became the only amendment of the U.S. Constitution to later be repealed. Thanks to the ratification of the 21st Amendment in 1933, Americans could enjoy a drink again, though many dry counties still exist.

What do you think? Will alcohol prohibition ever be tried again? How much longer will tobacco be legal? Is a ban on large sodas a good idea?

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