From History News Network by William Rorabaugh:
Eighty-five years ago Congress, desperate for new revenues during the Great Depression, legalized beer. At the same time the Twenty-First Amendment to the United States Constitution repealing the dry Eighteenth Amendment was making its way through the ratification process. All forms of alcohol became legal in the United States in December 1933. The disastrous national prohibition experiment had lasted only thirteen years. Many ironies surround Prohibition. How did such a bad idea ever get adopted? How had it failed? And why was it abandoned in1933?
From the 1830s to the 1930s large numbers of Americans became obsessed with banning alcohol. This was truly one of the crazier ideas to infect the national psyche. In one sense, the idea was strange because the country had been hard-drinking since the colonial founding. In another sense, the fact of high consumption spurred the anti-liquor crusade. As early as the 1830s the drys, as they called themselves, argued that liquor caused crime, poverty, wife beating, child abuse, and practically every other social ill.