Prohibition in Virginia has a long tradition. Many residents were opposed to alcohol. They had established state-wide prohibition in 1914. This was well before the country followed suit in 1920.
There was a strong belief in the state that Prohibition would be very good. That it would lead to less crime. To better health. And to higher morality. That it would reduce violence. Increase prosperity. And protect women, children, and the family. But facts prove otherwise.
Prohibition in Virginia
Those who chose to continue buying alcohol became criminals. Those who chose to satisfy the brisk demand for alcohol were also criminals.
Illegal producers and sellers of alcohol had to bribe police and others. That, in order to operate. So it was business expense. But not a deductible one. That’s because now all profits from alcohol were illegal. This deprived the state of much-needed taxes.
Knowledge of widespread corruption spread. So respect for law declined. Drinking became an easy way to rebel. It spread quickly across college campuses.
Prohibition also promoted a dangerous drinking pattern. That’s because drinking was less often but much more heavy. People didn’t go to a speakeasy to drink a beer. They went to drink it to get drunk. For the first time, drinking became the fashion among women.
Moonshiners carelessly made their products. Moonshine sometimes had lead toxins. Customers sometimes were paralyzed. Or blinded. Or even died.
It became clear that Prohibition didn’t decrease crime but increased it. Didn’t lead to better health but sometimes led to death. It didn’t raise morality but lowered it. Didn’t protect young people but threatened their well-being.
Residents came to realize that Prohibition didn’t work. But worse, that it was counter productive. It was worse than doing nothing. They voted by 63 percent for Repeal.