Volstead Act 41 Stat. 305 (1919)

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VOLSTEAD ACT 41 Stat. 305 (1919)

Congress passed the Volstead National Prohibition Act, sponsored by Representative Andrew J. Volstead (Republican, Minnesota), on October 28, 1919. The act provided both for the continuation of wartime prohibition and for enforcement of the eighteenth amendment. It was enacted over the veto of President woodrow wilson, who objected to the linking of those "two distinct phases of prohibition legislation."

To enforce the Eighteenth Amendment against private conduct the Volstead Act defined "intoxicating beverages" as any beverages containing at least 0.5% alcohol by volume, and provided stringent penalties for their manufacture, importation, transportation, sale, possession, or use. The constitutionality of the act was upheld in the National Prohibition Cases (Rhode Island v. Palmer, 1920), in which the Supreme Court, speaking through Justice willis van devanter, held that Congress's power under the amendment was complete and extended to intrastate as well as interstate transactions.

The Beer-Wine Revenue Act of March 1933 amended the Volstead Act by permitting the manufacture and sale of beer and wine with an alcohol content of up to 3.2%. Passage of the twenty-first amendment later the same year rendered the Volstead Act void.

Dennis J. Mahoney