VOLSTEAD ACT. The Eighteenth Amendment (ratified 29 January 1919) needed enforcement, and in October 1919 Congress passed the National Prohibition Act, introduced by Representative Andrew J. Volstead of Minnesota. President Woodrow Wilson vetoed the measure on 27 October, but Congress overrode the veto the next day. The act fixed penalties for liquor sales; provided for injunctions against establishments found selling liquor; contained a search and seizure clause; and, oddly, continued the taxation of alcoholic beverages. It permitted the retention of private stocks of liquor bought before the act went into effect, and allowed beer manufacturing, on condition that brewers reduce the alcoholic content to 0.5 percent before sale.
Alvin F.Harlow/c. w.
Volstead Act is the popular name for the National Prohibition Act (41 Stat. 305), a comprehensive statute that was enacted to enforce the eighteenth amendment to the U.S. Constitution and to prohibit the manufacture and sale of intoxicating liquors. The act was rendered inoperative by passage of the twenty-first amendment, which repealed prohibition.