Posted by: Matt Browner Hamlin | December 5, 2009

Happy Repeal Day

On January 16th, 1919 the odious 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified. It read:

THE 18TH AMENDMENT

SECTION 1. After one year from the ratification of this article the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors within, the importation thereof into, or the exportation thereof from the United States and all territory subject to the jurisdiction thereof for beverage purposes is hereby prohibited.

SECTION 2. The Congress and the several States shall have concurrent power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

SECTION 3. This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of the several States, as provided in the Constitution, within seven years from the date of the submission hereof to the States by the Congress.

On December 4th, 1933 voters in South Carolina rejected ratification of the 21st Amendment. South Carolina would have been the 36th state needed to amend the Constitution and repeal the 18th Amendment.

However, just a day later – seventy-six years ago today – on December 5th, 1933 Utah became the final state needed to give the 21st Amendment the requisite approval from three-fourths of the states of the union, ending Prohibition.

THE 21ST AMENDMENT

SECTION 1. The eighteenth article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States is hereby repealed.

SECTION 2. The transportation or importation into any State, Territory, or possession of the United States for delivery or use there in of intoxicating liquors, in violation of the laws thereof, is hereby prohibited.

SECTION 3. This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by conventions in the several States, as provided in the Constitution, within seven years from the date of the submission hereof to the States by the Congress.

Today we celebrate the 76th anniversary of Repeal Day. If you’re in Washington DC, I highly recommend buying a ticket to the DC Craft Bartenders Guild’s Second Annual Repeal Day Ball.

I think it’s worth noting that tomorrow, December 6th, will be the 77th anniversary of the introduction of the 21st Amendment into the U.S. Senate by Senator John Blaine of Wisconsin. To night, I will raise my glass in toast of Senator Blaine from the great state of Wisconsin and the role he played in undoing a horrible piece of legislation and giving us the holiday we celebrate today.

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