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ILLINOIS STATE ARCHIVES


Hard Times in Illinois, 1930–1940

A Selection of Documents from the Illinois State Archives


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DOCUMENT 17
LETTER CONCERNING PROSECUTION OF AN ILLINOIS PROHIBITION LAW VIOLATION
June 21, 1933



Explanation

Three quarters of the states had voted to prohibit the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors throughout the country on January 29, 1919 when the Eighteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution had been ratified. Over the years that followed this prohibition had been violated flagrantly, particularly in Chicago. An Illinois Constitutional Convention voted to repeal prohibition on July 10, 1933. When Utah voted for repeal on December 5, 1933 three quarters of the states had done so and consequently the Twenty-first Amendment had been ratified. The Twenty-first Amendment repealed the Eighteenth Amendment.

In replying to this letter the governor's secretary wrote that the attorney general's opinion had been sought regarding this matter. The attorney general believed that the governor lacked the authority to issue a general amnesty but could issue pardons on a case by case basis. No commitment was made to issue a pardon.

Points to Consider

What was Harry I. Weisbrod asking Governor Horner to do?

What was the "18th amendment"?

Explain Mr. Weisbrod's reasoning.

Why was prohibition a failure in this county?


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