Prohibition in the United States


It might be hard to believe today, but alcohol was illegal or ‘prohibited’ in America for 13 years, from 1920 to 1933.


In the 1800s, Americans really loved to drink. In fact, American men drank 2-3 times as much as they do today. After work, most men would go out and get drunk. They would spend all of their money, and some would go home and abuse their wives. That’s why women were the strongest voice for prohibition in the beginning. Some Christians also saw alcohol as immoral and wanted it banned.


But when alcohol was made illegal, it seemed to cause even more problems than before. Many people continued to import or make alcohol. Homemade alcohol was often low quality and many people died from it. A black market was created, so crime rose. Gang members became powerful and politicians often made deals with them. Society became very corrupt.


Surprisingly, women’s groups were some of the strongest voices against prohibition this time. During prohibition, many women in big cities had visited secret bars and they liked it. They saw prohibition as a restriction of their freedom and a cause of unnecessary crime.

Vocabulary 好字精選

1. abuse (v) to hurt somebody you know physically or emotionally 虐待
The boss was arrested for abusing a staff member.

2. immoral (adj) not good or moral 不道德的
Religious leaders often advise people not to engage in immoral behavior.  

3. banned (adj) not allowed 禁止的
Chewing gum is banned in Singapore. 

4. import (v) to bring products into a country 進口
Taiwan imports a lot of wheat from the US.

5. corrupt (adj) acting dishonestly for personal gain, usually by people of authority 貪腐的
The policeman was corrupt; he often accepted money from criminals.

6. restriction (n) a rule that stops or limits something 限制;規定
According to city restrictions, buildings higher than six floors require a special permit.

Phrases and Sentence Patterns 句型解析

1. black market (expression) an illegal market 黑市
That drug is illegal but it is sold on the black market.

2. sb. + make a deal with + sb. (sentence pattern) 交易...
Matt made a deal with his mom that if he got 100 on the next test, she would give him 100 dollars.

Exercise 課後練習題

1. Carrie left her husband because he had been _______________ her.

2. Some say it is _______________ to cheat.

3. Guns are _______________ in our country.

4. This computer company ______________ most of its parts from China.

5. The article says the president is _______________. He is friends with many gangsters and does business with them.

6. According to the new _______________, water is not allowed to be carried onto flights.

7. Many fake brand name products are sold on the _______________.

8. The two friends _______________ each other last year that they would help each other improve their scores.


1. abusing
2. immoral
3. banned
4. imports
5. corrupt
6. restriction
7. black market
8. made a deal with

Comprehension Questions 閱讀理解

1. What negative part of prohibition is NOT mentioned?
a. It caused people to drink even more.
b. It caused more crime.
c. It created an illegal market for alcohol.
d. It caused corruption.

2. What was the role of women in prohibition?
a. The always supported it.
b. They always wanted it to end.       
c. They supported it at first but wanted it to end later. 
d. They didn’t want it to start but supported it later.


1. 下列禁酒令的負面缺點何者沒被提到?
a. 使人們喝更多的酒。
b. 導致更多犯罪。
c. 酒的違法市集因而產生。
d. 導致貪腐。

2. 女人在禁酒令扮演什麼樣的角色?
a. 她們一直都是支持的角色
b. 她們一直都希望禁酒令結束。
c. 她們一開始支持但後來反對。
d. 她們不希望禁酒令開始,但後來支持禁酒令。


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