Prohibition

Harry Soref built Master Lock from the ground up.

Master Lock Has Had a Hold on the Industry for 100 Years

A century ago, Harry Soref made his Milwaukee-based company into a world leader with his invention of the laminated steel padlock

Some facets of the 1918 influenza pandemic echo today's crisis: There were mask mandates, campaigns against spitting and pleas for people to cover their mouths, and more than half a million Americans died. The decade that followed the pandemic, however, was marked by social change and economic prosperity—for some.

What Caused the Roaring Twenties? Not the End of a Pandemic (Probably)

As the U.S. anticipates a vaccinated summer, historians say measuring the impact of the 1918 influenza on the uproarious decade that followed is tricky

 Elizebeth Friedman was a star cryptanalyst who cracked hundreds of ciphers for the U.S. government.

How Codebreaker Elizebeth Friedman Broke Up a Nazi Spy Ring

A new PBS documentary traces her extraordinary life, from her Quaker upbringing to her career as the U.S.' first female cryptanalyst

By the end of Prohibition, distilled spirits made up more than 75 percent of alcohol sales.

The Modern Craft Cocktail Movement Got Its Start During Prohibition

Something needed to be done to mask the taste of bootleg alcohol that could include ingredients ranging from dead rats to wood tar

New Yorkers celebrate the end of Prohibition in 1933.

Breaking Down the Numbers of Americans' Drinking Habits

A century after Prohibition, we uncork a history of the nation’s shifting relationship with booze

The Ten Best History Books of 2019

Our favorite titles of the year resurrect forgotten histories and help explain how we got to where we are today

The word "teetotaler" dates back to the temperance movement that preceded Prohibition.

Where Does the Word 'Teetotaler' Come From? And More Questions From Our Readers

You've got questions, we've got experts

George Remus in jail.

The Bootleg King and the Ambitious Prosecutor Who Took Him Down

The clash between George Remus and Mabel Walker Willebrandt present a snapshot of life during the Roaring Twenties

How FDR Took the First Steps Towards Ending Prohibition

In 1932, nine days after his inauguration, President Roosevelt signed an order authorizing the sale of beer

Once states voted, approval of what became the 18th Amendment came quickly, the Smithsonian's Peter Liebhold says. “I think some people were surprised how quickly that all came about.”

The Bitter Aftertaste of Prohibition in American History

Anti-immigration sentiment flavored that cocktail ban, historians say

How Americans Found a Clever Loophole in the Prohibition Act

Just because the country had voted to outlaw alcohol, didn't mean that people would comply. The legal case wasn't much helped by a quirky loophole

Rumrunner at St. Pierre

This Tiny French Archipelago Became America’s Alcohol Warehouse During Prohibition

Before the 21st amendment was ratified, remote islands off Canada’s Newfoundland province floated on a sea of whiskey and wine

Carry A. Nation with her bible and her hatchet not long before she died in 1911.

Three Things to Know About Radical Prohibitionist Carry A. Nation

Nation was convinced she was on a mission from God

Orange County Sheriff's Department disposing of illegal alcohol, circa 1932.

Why the Ku Klux Klan Flourished Under Prohibition

The Ku Klux Klan's resurgence in the 1920s is linked to the passage of the Volstead Act in 1920

Florence Harding put up with a lot during her life, including Warren G. Harding's constant philandering.

Florence Harding, Not Eleanor Roosevelt, May Have Created the Modern First Lady

She did things her own way, and helped to set a precedent for the First Ladies who followed her

"The Drunkard's Progress" shows how temperance advocates wanted to position alcohol consumption: as a choice leading, inevitably, to ruin and death.

Why Was Maine the First State to Try Prohibition?

The groundbreaking "Maine law" laid the groundwork for other states to experiment with temperance laws

Bevo, Anheuser-Busch's "cereal beer" or "near-beer," was the most popular of non-alcoholic malt beverages sold during Prohibition.

How Some Breweries Survived Prohibition

It mostly involved playing to their non-alcoholic strengths

Susannah Madora Salter was hanging up laundry when she heard her name was on the mayoral ballot.

130 Years Ago, Men Against Women's Suffrage Put Susanna Salter’s Name on the Ballot

Boy, were they sorry.

The Daisy was a popular cocktail with many variations, including the Tequila Daisy.

Here’s How To Make the Margarita’s (Possible) Predecessor, the Daisy

This cocktail has its roots in the nineteenth century, and some of its first recipes are made with brandy, not tequila

How Moonshine Bootlegging Gave Rise to NASCAR

Rotgut and firewater are the founding fathers of our nation’s racing pastime

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