NC History and the Law: Prohibition in North Carolina

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After becoming interested in the HBO show Boardwalk Empire, a show about Prohibition in the late 1920s and 30s, I was inspired to research Prohibition in North Carolina. As of today, North Carolina is one of eighteen (18) US states in which the government controls the sale and purchase of alcohol.

North Carolina was the first state in the South to enact Prohibition of alcohol or “intoxicating spirits.” The North Carolina General Assembly enacted state-wide Prohibition in 1908 which was twelve (12) years before the nationwide Prohibition law by the Volstead Act in 1919/1920 and the addition of the Eighteenth (18th) Amendment of US Constitution. North Carolina was able to enact Prohibition so much earlier than much of the nation because it was supported by many religious organizations and churches. The NC General Assembly voted in favor of Prohibition in 1908 with 62% of the referendum vote. Before state-wide North Carolina Prohibition was enacted, many counties were no longer able to sell alcohol in establishments such has saloons, bars and restaurants (also known as “dry” counties). Some of these counties included Burke and Graham counties.

Here are images from George Pierce Pell’s Revisal of 1908 of North Carolina which contains public and general statutes. The call number is RBR KFN7430 1908 .A22 v. 1 c. 1. These pages define and detail North Carolina’s Prohibition laws:

Although North Carolina Prohibition was enacted with widespread support from many organizations and elected officials, the result was an increase in illegal manufacture and distribution of alcohol (mainly moonshine) and crime. Nationally, the repeal of Prohibition was enacted in 1933 by the Twenty-first (21st) Amendment but North Carolina did not enact Prohibition until 1935 although the state garnered 70% of the vote to repeal it. It was then that the government Alcoholic Beverage Control (created in 1933 after national repeal) took control of alcohol manufacture, distribution and sales in North Carolina.

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Hanson, David J.. "Alcohol Prohibition and Repeal: North Carolina's Experience." Alcohol: Problems and Solutions. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Nov. 2013. .

Posted by Tamia Grace Taylor on Thu. November 21, 2013 10:56 AM
Categories: Uncategorized

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