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An Overview of the 21st Amendment

21st Amendment

What is the 21st Amendment?

“Section 1. The eighteenth article of amendment to theConstitution of the United States is hereby repealed.

Section 2. The transportation or importation into every State, Territory, or possession of the United States for delivery or use therein 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 here of to the States by the Congress.”

The 21st Amendment Defined

Date Proposed

The 21st Amendment was proposed on February 20th, 1933

Date Passed

The 21st Amendment was passed on December 5th, 1933

President of the United States

Franklin D. Roosevelt was the President of the United States during the ratification of the 21st Amendment

Stipulations of the 21st Amendment

The 21st Amendment was a direct response to the preexisting 18th Amendment of the Constitution of the United States, which mandated the sale, possession, consumption, and transport of alcoholic beverages as illegal

In addition to this amendment overturning statutes deeming alcoholic beverages to be illegal, the 21st Amendment allowed individual states to regulate all applicable legislature with regard to the commercial availability of alcoholic beverages

The 21st Amendment instituted the legal instrument currently known as liquor licenses

21st Amendment Facts

As of 2011, the 21st Amendment is the only Constitutional Amendment facilitated to directly repeal a preexisting amendment – in this case, that amendment is the 18th Amendment

The 18th Amendment – which included the prohibition of alcoholic beverages – was a direct response to ethics committees existing within the United States that credited alcohol with lascivious and criminal behavior

States Ratifying the 21st Amendment

1. Alabama

2. Arizona

3. Arkansas

4. California

5. Colorado

6. Connecticut


7. Delaware

8. Florida

9. Idaho

10. Illinois

11. Indiana

12. Iowa

13. Kentucky

14. Maine

15. Maryland

16. Massachusetts

17. Michigan

18. Minnesota

19. Missouri

20. Montana

21. Nevada

22. New Hampshire

23. New Jersey

24. New Mexico

25. New York

26. North Carolina

27. Ohio

28. Oregon

29. Pennsylvania

30. Rhode Island

31. South Carolina

32. Tennessee

33. Texas

34. Utah

35. Vermont

36. Virginia

37. Washington

38. West Virginia

39. Wisconsin

40. Wyoming

States Not Participatory in the Ratification of the 21st Amendment

1. Georgia

2. Kansas

3. Louisiana

4. Mississippi

5. Nebraska

6. North Dakota

7. Oklahoma

8. South Dakota

Court Cases Associated with the 21st Amendment

Craig v. Boren (1976) – this court case addressed proposed legislation differentiating the legal age of alcohol consumption imposed with regard to males and females within the state of Oklahoma; the motion was overturned as a result of a presumed violation of the 14th Amendment

NEXT: Twenty Second Amendment

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