Was part of this crime explosion a result of Prohibition?
Other way around.
The temperance movement got more radical in reaction to these societal changes, urging outright prohibition. Though there were a few violent prohibitionists like Carrie Nation, the movement was really one of churches and progressives.
By the end of World War One, the progressives were strong enough to legislate their idealism, not as an easily-revoked statute, but as a near-permanent constitutional amendment, and that’s when Prohibition started.
Of course, prohibition was an utter failure, leading to more organized crime and gang violence. Crime shot up more, and otherwise law-abiding folks were packing the jails for alcohol offenses. Most people soon disapproved of prohibition. The movement that had been strong enough to get a constitutional amendment passed was discredited almost the moment it had gotten its way and had to face reality. After only 14 years, it became the only constitutional amendment to be repealed. (It didn’t belong in the Constitution anyway, being nothing more than a legislative provision, but that’s a rant for another day.)
Anyway, no, this crime explosion of the mid-to-late 1800s predated Prohibition by several decades.
“Crime shot up more, and otherwise law-abiding folks were packing the jails for alcohol offenses.”
it’s a good thing we learned from prohibition and didn’t do that again huh?
Interesting. Thanks for the history lesson!
And the law lessons too of course.
It seems like the question is how broad you think the Interstate Commerce Clause should be. I would say that Congress could ban the interstate commerce of alcohol, but not the intrastate production of it (which from a locavore’s perspective, wouldn’t be a bad thing). Of course, that clause has been read incredibly broadly, so Congress could ban alcohol under current readings without an amendment.
As far as I understand it, even Prohibition was limited in real scope of law. Except that the federal government practically owned all railroads, Prohibition, properly construed, could still only affect commerce between the states and federal territory, not between the states themselves, except where it involved railroads or other federal property in the transportation, origin, or destination.
A constitutional amendment pretty much trumps any other provisions in the Constitution or the Bill of Rights, since it is considered an alteration of those documents.
Did, OMG Beer, help contribute to the crime wave?
On a side note, I like the choice of a Remington pistol for the policeman.
Hmm, he doesn’t look much like Clint Eastwood….
Don’t know why, but he reminds me of Robin Williams.
Pingback: Undoing overcriminalization - The Criminal Lawyer - Commentary on Law and Policy