On August 27, 1932, presidential candidate Franklin Delano Roosevelt stopped in Sea Girt, New Jersey, to deliver an address on an important campaign issue. “It is increasingly apparent that the intemperate use of intoxicants has no place in this new mechanized civilization of ours,” he told the crowd. “In our industry, in our recreation, on our highways, a drunken man is more than an objectionable companion; he is a peril to the rest of us. The hand that controls the machinery of our factories, that holds the steering wheel of our automobiles, and the brains that guide the course of finance and industry should alike be free from the effects of overindulgence in alcohol.” But, he continued, in most of the country, alcohol prohibition was nevertheless a “complete and tragic failure” and, as president, he promised to see it to a close, which he soon did. Although voters had been strongly split on the issue, the U.S. had to rewrite the very Constitution to do it, and we still suffer from alcohol’s social ills, the nation remembers the end of Prohibition as an unalloyed triumph of democracy and wise leadership.
– Read the entire article at New York Magazine.