Prohibition Era Timeline

Pouring illegal alcohol into a sewer
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The Prohibition Era in the United States has a storied past beginning with various temperance movements in the 1830's and finally culminating with the passage of the 18th amendment. However, the success was short-lived and the 18th amendment was repealed thirteen years later with the passage of the 21st amendment. Learn more about this historic period in American social history with this timeline.

Timeline of the Prohibition Era

1830's - Temperance Movements begin advocating for abstinence from alcohol.

1847 - The first prohibition law is passed in Maine (although a prohibition law had previously passed in the Oregon territory).

1855 - 13 states have enacted prohibition legislation.

1869 - The National Prohibition Party is founded.

1881 - Kansas is the first state to have prohibition in its state constitution.

1890 - The National Prohibition Party elects its first member of the House of Representatives.

1893 - The Anti-Saloon League is formed.

1917 - The US Senate passes the Volstead Act on December 18th which is one of the significant steps to the passage of the 18th amendment.

1918 - The War Time Prohibition Act is passed to save grain for the war effort during World War I.

1919 - On October 28th the Volstead Act passes the US Congress and establishes the enforcement of prohibition.

1919 - On January 29th, the 18th amendment is ratified by 36 states and goes into effect on the federal level.

1920's - The rise of bootleggers such as Al Capone in Chicago highlight the darker side of prohibition.

1929 - Elliot Ness begins in earnest to tackle violators of prohibition and Al Capone's gang in Chicago.

1932 - On August 11th, Herbert Hoover gave an acceptance speech for the Republican presidential nomination for president in which he discussed the ills of prohibition and the need for its end.

1933 - On March 23rd, Franklin D. Roosevelt signs the Cullen-Harrison Act which legalizes the manufacture and sale of certain alcohol.

1933 - On December 5th, prohibition is repealed with the 21st amendment.