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The Day Prohibition Began: Thirteen Awful Years of the Noble Experiment

Evening Program with Cocktail Tasting

Evening Lecture/Seminar

Thursday, January 16, 2020 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. ET
Code: 1L0297
S. Dillon Ripley Center
1100 Jefferson Dr SW
Metro: Smithsonian (Mall exit)
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Liquor is poured into a sewer following a raid during the height of Prohibition (Library of Congress)

The “noble experiment” of Prohibition in America began on January 16, 1920, after a century of agitation by the temperance movement to create a dry, sober nation.

It started as a measure during World War I to prevent soldiers from drinking, but quickly became a constitutional amendment to ban the manufacture, transportation, and sale of alcohol. Americans supported it with patriotic fervor as part of the war effort, not considering the consequences or how difficult it would be to enforce. An idealistic public soon turned cynical as bootleggers emerged to supply the brisk demand for booze, while organized crime dramatically undermined the noble experiment.

Prohibition lasted less than 14 years before the 21st Amendment repealed it in 1933—marking the end of what H. L. Mencken called the “Thirteen Awful Years.” On the centennial of the start of the national booze ban, join author, historian, and tour guide Garrett Peck on a cocktail-driven journey through the nation’s not-so-dry past.

Following the program, enjoy samples of Prohibition-era cocktails.

Participants must be 21 or older with ID.