Thursday, January 26, 2012

Learn Our History Today: January 26

On January 26, 1838, Tennessee became the first state to pass a Prohibition law, making it illegal to sell alcoholic beverages in taverns and stores.  The law stated that any person convicted of selling alcohol would be fined at the court’s discretion and any such funds earned from the fines would be used to support public schools.

The prohibition movement was born in the early 19th century out of concerns about the adverse effects of drinking. By the end of the century, several states and individual cities had put prohibition laws in place, and supporters of prohibition were calling for total national abstinence.  This movement led to the 18th Amendment, or “Prohibition Amendment”, which was passed in 1917 and took effect in 1919.  Despite the Amendment, the government could not prevent the distribution of alcohol—organized crime flourished during the 20s.  And in 1933, the 21st Amendment was passed, reversing the 18th Amendment and repealing Prohibition.

And in 1961, after holding office for just one week, President JFK appointed Janet Travell, as his personal physician, making Travell the first woman in history to ever hold the post of physician to the president.

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