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Constitution Center, With Prohibition Show, Marks Anniversary of 18th Amendment

(Credit: Michelle Durham)

(Credit: Michelle Durham)

Michelle Durham Michelle Durham
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By Michelle Durham

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The National Constitution Center was touting its current exhibit about Prohibition today, which is the 94th anniversary of the ratification of the 18th Amendment to the Constitution.  That amendment ushered in the Prohibition era one year later.

Brian Krisch, museum programs demonstrator at the Constitution Center, says this period of history remains more  important than many Americans realize.

“It’s really a fascinating cultural period,” he said today.  “It’s also one where the only time the Constitution has tried to actively change the way Americans behaved.  It altered all sorts of industries, (and) gender relations. What seemed to be a just a moral stance ended up having far-reaching consequences.”

Specifically, he notes, “dry” politicians were elected who influenced many policies besides Prohibition: the federal income tax had to be established to replace the monies the government once received from alcohol sales.

And, in Pennsylvania, he adds, “We still have our state stores and our Pennsylvania liquor laws that were actually drawn up by the dry governor, Gifford Pinchot.  So our liquor laws were drawn up by a guy who didn’t actually taste a drop.”

The Constitution Center exhibit, American Spirits: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition, runs through April 28th.

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