Alcohol caused so many problems in the USA that the government decided to ban it. On January 16th 1920, the 18th Amendment banned the sale and making of alcohol in America.
This period was known as ‘Prohibition‘ which means it was prohibited or not allowed. This lasted for a period of 13 years and ended in February 1933.
Gangsters started making illegal alcohol out of anything they could find which made it very dangerous to drink.
In Chicago, Al Capone’s gang produced and sold the illegal alcohol. Within 2 years, Capone was earning $60 million a year from alcohol sales.
Drinking became a hidden activity in drinking dens (a ‘speakeasy’), controlled by violent gangsters in major American cities. Speakeasies were called this because of the practice of speaking quietly about such a place in public, or when inside it, so as not to alert the police or neighbors.