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Encyclopedia of Rumrunners and Speakeasies: Freeport During Prohibition: V

Volstead Act

The Volstead Act was the common name for the National Prohibition Act.  The purpose of this act was to enforce Prohibition (Eighteenth Amendment).

The act was named for Andrew J. Volstead, the Minnesota congressman and chairman of the House Judiciary Committee who sponsored the National Prohibition Act in 1919.

The act defined intoxicating liquors as beverages which contain "one-half of one per centum or more of alcohol by volume.“

This act included a number of loopholes. Medical and sacramental uses of alcohol were allowed.  Home manufacturing of “non-intoxicating” ciders and fruit juices was permitted and legal stocks of liquor acquired before Prohibition could be served to family members and bona fide guests without violating the law.

Click here to see a copy of the Volstead Act.


"Volstead Act of 1919." American Decades Primary Sources. Ed. Cynthia Rose. Vol. 2: 1910-1919. Detroit: Gale, 2004. 273-275. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 5 Oct. 2015.

Researched by Regina G. Feeney, December 19, 2017.