The Blaine Act ► Throwback Thursday

The United States is still an experiment in democracy that people are still trying to get right [See: Trump, Donald], and The Blaine Act corrected one of ‘Merka’s greatest mistakes: Prohibition.

The Eighteenth Amendment, aka Prohibition, was in place from 1920 to 1933 and, among its many unintended consequences, included a scofflaw society and the rise of The Mob. The Blaine Act, to repeal the 18th Amendment, was passed by the Senate on this day in 1933.

The resolution was introduced on February 14, 1933 by Sen. John J. Blaine, Republican from Wisconsin. The next day, Sen. Morris Sheppard, Democrat from Texas, began a filibuster to prevent consideration of the bill. No other senator assisted in this vain effort. The following day the Senate passed the Blaine Act by a vote of 69 to 27. That was five votes more than needed to pass.

On February 20, the House of Representatives passed it by a vote of 294-126.

The Blaine Act permitted states to form conventions that could ratify the proposed repeal amendment. Ratification by two-thirds of the existing 48 states was required to make that amendment part of the U.S. Constitution.

The Blaine Act was ratified by enough states that it became the 21st Amendment on December 5th of that yea.

And, that’s why they’re called amendments, NRA.

Here’s an unsolicited plug for the Ken Russell PBS documentary “Prohibition.” If you’ve never seen it, you should. Here’s a judicious 26 minute cut from a doc that runs several hours:


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Headly Westerfield
Headly Westerfield
Calling himself “A liberally progressive, sarcastically cynical, iconoclastic polymath,” Headly Westerfield has been a professional writer all his adult life.