Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Legislature ratifies the proposed 18th Amendment | South Dakota History

My project-1 (26).png
The Daily Deadwood Pioneer Times
Headline from the March 21, 1918 edition of The Daily Deadwood Pioneer Times

On March 20th, 1918, the South Dakota state legislature ratified the proposed 18th Amendment to the US Constitution. The amendment would prohibit the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors.

Almost 30 years earlier when South Dakota achieved statehood, prohibition had been approved in the state constitution.

Argus Leader
Clip from the March 19, 1918 edition of the Argus Leader explaining the amendment

And though it was removed in 1896, the temperance movement was active in South Dakota and nationwide. They held that a ban on the sale of alcohol would ease poverty and other societal problems.

The Eighteenth Amendment declared the production, transport, and sale of intoxicating liquors illegal, although it did not outlaw the actual consumption of alcohol. The required number of states ratified the amendment, and Congress passed the Volstead Act to provide for the federal enforcement of Prohibition. Prohibition began in January 1920.

There was a decline in alcohol consumption but enforcement of Prohibition proved difficult, particularly in cities. Alcohol smuggling, known as rum-running or bootlegging, and illicit bars or speakeasies, became popular. Public sentiment

My project-1 (27).png
November 8, 1934 The Daily Plainsman
Prohibition's end did not come to South Dakota until 1934 with a question on the November 6th ballot

turned against Prohibition during the 1920s, and in 1932 Democratic presidential nominee Franklin D. Roosevelt called for its repeal.

The Eighteenth Amendment became the only constitutional amendment to be repealed in its entirety when the Twenty-first Amendment was ratified in 1933. But South Dakota was part of the early ratification process, approving the 18th Amendment on March 20th,1918.

Production help is provided by Doctor Brad Tennant, Professor of History at Presentation College.