Repeal Trivia: Trivia about the Repeal of Federal Alcohol Prohibition

Repeal trivia is fun. But before we get to the trivia, here’s a little background.


By 1900, millions of people in the U.S. believed that drinking alcohol was a national tragedy. They thought alcohol was the cause of unemployment, poverty, crime, and divorce. Of poor health, insanity, violence, immorality, child neglect, and other problems.

After federal Prohibition (the 18th Amendment) went into effect in 1920, the promised benefits failed to appear. In fact, Prohibition created both serious and new problems. There was loss of alcohol tax revenue, increased law enforcement expenses, and sometimes poisonous moonshine. It promoted organized crime, widespread corruption, violence, disrespect for law, and speakeasies. The list goes on.

repeal triviaWith the passage of time, more and more people called for Repeal. The beautiful dream had become a nightmare. Finally, in December of 1933, the country  overwhelmingly rejected federal Prohibition.

National Prohibition began on January 16, 1920 and ended on December 5, 1933.

Repeal Trivia

  • The leading prohibitionist in Congress was highly confident of Prohibition’s future. He said “There is as much chance of repealing the Eighteenth Amendment as there is for a hummingbird to fly to the planet Mars with the Washington Monument tied to its tail.1
  • In 1926, Montana became the first state to stop its own enforcement of Prohibition.2 However, federal enforcement continued.
  • In 1930 voters in Massachusetts chose to stop the state from enforcing Prohibition.3   
  • In 1932 Franklin Roosevelt won election to the presidency of the U.S. running on a pledge to end National Prohibition.4
  • Eight states never ratified the 21st Amendment.5
    repeal trivia◦ Georgia.
    ◦ Kansas.
    ◦ Louisiana.
    ◦ Nebraska.
    ◦ N. Dakota.
    ◦ Oklahoma.
    ◦ S. Carolina
    ◦ S. Dakota.
  • South Carolina specifically rejected Repeal.6
The Vote
  • The popular vote for repeal of Prohibition was 74 percent in favor and 26  percent in opposition.7
  • These were some of the voting results.

• Residents of Santa Fe in New Mexico voted 2,768 to 201 for Repeal.8

• Over 80 percent of Kentucky voters called for Repeal. Yet the state had been one of the first three to ratify Prohibition.9

• Residents of the state of New York voted almost eight to one in favor of Repeal.10

  • The 21st Amendment went into effect at 4:31 p.m. on December 5, 1933. Prohibition had lasted 13 years, 10 months, 19 days, 17 hours and 32.5 minutes.11
  • repeal triviaThe first legally-produced beer was delivered to President Roosevelt at the White House shortly after midnight on April 14, 1933.12
  • Following the repeal of federal Prohibition, 18 states continued their own state-wide prohibition.13
  • In 1966, Mississippi was the last state to repeal its own prohibition.14
  • Native American reservations remained under Prohibition until 1953. At that time  they enjoyed local option. That is, each reservation could decide the matter for itself.15
  • The 18th Amendment (Prohibition) is the only constitutional amendment ever repealed. The 21st Amendment for Repeal replaced it.16
  • An umbrella become a symbol of the post-prohibition era and “wet under the umbrella” celebrated the new wet era.17
  • Some Repeal Day (December 5th) hosts serve a non-alcoholic beverage first to remind everyone of the dry days of Prohibition.18
  • repeal triviaProhibition was an enormous failure. Yet incredibly, almost 20% of Americans today support making it a crime to have a drink.19 Even more people support neo-prohibition.

About Trivia

Trivia is the plural of the Latin word trivium. More than one Repeal trivium are Repeal trivia. Therefore, “Mississippi was the last state to repeal its own prohibition” is a Repeal trivium. But this collection is Repeal Trivia. So, should we say “Repeal trivia is fun!”? Or should it be “Repeal trivia are fun!”?

Great Sources for More Repeal Trivia

Especially enjoyable reading are the books by Kyvig, Okrent, Rose and Root listed below. And all items are good sources for repeal trivia.

A&E Television Network. The Road to Repeal. DVD video. NY: The Network, 1997.

Engdahl, S. (Ed.) Amendments XVIII and XXI: Prohibition and Repeal. Farmington Hills, MI: Greenhaven, 2009.

Kyvig, D. Repealing National Prohibition. Kent, OH: Kent State U. Press, 2000.

Lucas, E. The Eighteenth and Twenty-First Amendments: Alcohol, Prohibition, and Repeal. Springfield, NJ: Enslow, 1998.

Okrent, D. Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition. NY: Scribner, 2010.

Rose, K. American Women and the Repeal of Prohibition. NY: NYU. Press, 1996.

Root, G. Women and Repeal. The Story of the Women’s Organization for National Prohibition Reform. NY: Harper, 1934.

Schrad, M. Constitutional Blemishes: American Alcohol Prohibition and Repeal as Policy Punctuation. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2007.

Severen, B. The End of the Roaring Twenties. Prohibition and Repeal. NY: J. Messner, 1969. (Juvenile)

Shay, G., et al. Amendment 18, Prohibition; Amendment 21, Repeal of Prohibition. DVD video. Lawrenceville, NJ: Cambridge, 2004.

Walker, R., and Patterson, S. Oklahoma Goes Wet: The Repeal of Prohibition. NY: McGraw-Hill, 1960.


1   Merz, C. The Dry Decade. Seattle: U. Washington Press, 1969, p. ix.

2  Yenne, B., and Debolski, T. The Ultimate Book of Beer Trivia. San Mateo, CA: Bluewood, 1994, pp. 103-104.

3  National Prohibition and Repeal in Massachusetts.

4  Yenne and Debolski, ibid.

5   Ratification of Constitutional Amendments. U.S. constitution website.

6  Ibid.

7  Childs, R. Making Repeal Work. Philadelphia: PA Alco Bev Study, 1947, pp. 260-261.

8  New Mexico’s Experience with National Prohibition.

9  Kentucky: Prohibition, Moonshine, Bootlegging and Repeal.

10 Prohibition and Repeal in New York State.

11 Kyvig, D. Repealing National Prohibition. Chicago: U. Chicago Press, 1979.

12 Prohibition: Prosit! Time, April 17, 1933.

13  Mendelson, H. and Mello, N. Alcohol. Boston: Little, Brown., 1985, p. 94.

14 This Day in History: Prohibition Ends.

15  Repeal of Prohibition

16 18th Amendment.

17  Graham, C. 10 Facts About Prohibition and Repeal in the U.S.

18 Graham, ibid.

19  CNN/ORC Poll. (Alcohol Prohibition) Jan 7, 2014.