View images of 19th century breweries and saloons. From 1920-1933, the 18th Amendment to the United States Constitution ruled the land. It prohibited the making, transportation, and sale of alcohol. The amendment grew out of what was viewed as the pervasive alcohol abuse, especially among men and immigrant populations, of the 19th century. Americans on average drank seven gallons of pure alcohol each year, according to the Ken Burns documentary Prohibition. For nearly 100 years, activists and social reformers fought to improve the lives of all Americans, expand the rights of women, and protect children. These reformers supported the 18th amendment as means to social reform.