Definition Argument—Killroy513

NASCAR, Possible Origins

The American Prohibition was enacted in the year 1920 and would last until 1933. The eighteenth amendment was enacted to enforce the restriction of alcoholic beverages. This included liquor and beer products. At the time these products were in high demand, since it is a major part of society, its iconic and everyone for the most part enjoys them. This being said, the market would go from legal to illegal very quickly. The black market would supply these products to people who were willing to pay. In the big cities, the alcohol trafficking was done mostly by gangsters. These gangsters would form organizations and create bars and clubs. Being a very lucrative business and highly illegal, the police would step in and shut them done. Eventually the businesses went “underground”. Alcohol trafficking was a great way to make money doing this time, assuming the person would not get caught. Cars were in demand being the new thing. The transportation of goods went from horse and wagon to the automobile. During this time many alcohol products would be brought in by cars or trucks and sold to the public “under the table”. Eventually this would be found out by the police and the transportation of goods this way had to be more crafty. This would lead to the  modification of these automobiles. Having a car or truck that could evade the police for the most part fixed this issue. This, some may say, laid the foundation for the beginning of NASCAR, and modification of cars.

The black market at this time was highly lucrative, being that large amounts of money could be made extremely fast. In essence the black market would jump start the illegal activity of many during this era.

The transition from the nineteenth to the twentieth century was widely apparent. Cities grow to record sizes and the people changed for the good and bad. During the roaring twenties, some people acted on this black market, either adding to it or trying to “bust” it. The people who wanted to control this surge of money were primarily the big time gangsters in these huge cities. Cities like Chicago, New York City, Boston, ect. Gangsters back then are nothing like the ones of today. They had class, but also thought on their feet. One of the most famous ones from this time period was Al Capone, working in the mid west. Since the distribution of any alcoholic product was outlawed aside from medical use, it would be harder and harder to sell it. The gangsters of this time thought of extremely clever ways to make money and ensure their customers had what they wanted. The creation of “underground” bars and clubs would begin. Theses types of clubs and bars would be known as speak easy. These clubs would be hidden and passwords would be used for access. People had fun, and the gangsters made money. It was a win win.

Alcohol was used as medicine back in this time period. Doctors could proscribe the alcohol for specific ailments. When the eighteenth amendment was established, the medical field created special cars so that alcohol could be given for the people that needed it. Some doctors looking to make money would sell these cards filled out for the people who bought them. They would take these cards and purchase the outlawed alcohol.

Cars were a new thing in the 1920’s. They would be used more than horse and wagon for the simple reason of practicality. During this time many saw the automobile as a money making machine. Originally the use of car and truck was new to the public, since they became widely available at this time, they were used for anything, especially transportation of alcohol. What started out as moving illegal goods became much more. Eventually the police would catch on to this, and many people would fall victim to the black market craze. Humans are always learning, so people began to devise ways to modify their cars. They would make them faster. The cars would be modified to outrun the police and help cut down on the “busts”.

NASCAR is a sport that involves the racing of modified cars around a track two hundred times, whoever comes in first at the last lap wins first place. The cars are heavily maintained and need extensive care to operate. The drivers are highly skilled and learn how to adapt to any situation that may occur. Many men have died in this sport, being one of the most dangerous. The car crashes can result in the drivers being severely hurt or dying on impact. With a fast car comes modifications, the cars in NASCAR travel extremely fast due to the extensive changes made. Most of the car is taken out and the bare minimum is left. This makes the car faster.

The engine is one of the most important parts of a car. It makes it actually drive. There are a vast amount of modifications that can be done to an engine to achieve its full amount of horse power. Horse power is a unit of measurement that is based on five hundred and fifty pounds a second. The cars back in the day are nothing like the cars of today but like all cars, they have an engine. The cars were modified back in the day by ripping the old engine out and putting a more powerful one in or changing the parts used. Most of the time, the bigger the engine the faster a car will go. With that being said, cars were stripped down for weight reduction and equipped with larger engines.

The foundation of NASCAR and other sports like it would be laid during this era. People began to modify cars not only to evade the police but to race. This would give birth to a whole new sport that many enjoy. The story goes, that the moonshiners down in the southern states would get together and race their moded cars. After the Prohibition, the races would continue and eventually be recognized as a sport.

People never think of the other counties that benefited from the American Prohibition. Canada, and Mexico gained the most wealth. The countries citizens would either produce or distribute alcohol across the United States border. During the winter, the great lakes would freeze and cars would be able to drive over them with the alcoholic goods. The Mexico/ American border was not as built up as it is today, so trafficking was easier. People would bring over the products through customs or drive over. Both countries used ships to smuggle the alcoholic goods also. The products would be hidden and taken out when they reached their destination. The nations themselves did not benefit from this, BUT, the their citizens did.


Work Cited

“Prohibition in Canada.” Smuggling, Bootlegging and Speakeasies,

Sandbrook, Dominic. “How Prohibition backfired and gave America an era of gangsters and speakeasies.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 25 Aug. 2012,

McElroy, Ryan. “The story of how moonshiners created the performance car.” Car Keys, Car Keys, 31 Oct. 2017,

“History of the Roaring Twenties.” Prohibition and the Speakeasies,

Gambino, Megan. “During Prohibition, Your Doctor Could Write You a Prescription for Booze.”, Smithsonian Institution, 7 Oct. 2013,

“Eighteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 4 Dec. 2017,

Untitled Document,

“Black market.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 4 Dec. 2017,

Thompson, Neal. Driving with the devil: southern moonshine, Detroit wheels, and the birth of Nascar. Three Rivers Press, 2007.

Okrent, Daniel. Last call: the rise and fall of Prohibition. Scribner, 2011.

One thought on “Definition Argument—Killroy513”

  1. You’re missing a big opportunity here, Killroy, to investigate a necessary term of your argument and provide a service to your readers. The “Definition” part of your research paper will probably not be the first section, but somewhere in the middle you’re going to want to compare the cars that race on NASCAR tracks to the “street legal” cars that we all drive (and the hybrids in between that push the boundaries of what’s legal on the street). While you’re comparing the engine sizes and other modifications that make the track cars so competitive, you’ll have a chance to discuss how these innovations, developed in the Prohibition era, gave the bootleggers an advantage over the pursuing law enforcement vehicles.

    That way, your definition section will have real argument value. Plus, most of us don’t understand the particulars of the sport you’re describing here and would welcome your assistance.

    Most of what you have here will be better suited to a Causal Argument, as the unintended consequences of Prohibition became quickly obvious. Outlawing alcohol did more to create outlaws than it did anything else. AND it led to the development of NASCAR (which to this day revels in its outlaw spirit of rebellion). Get it?

    Did you find this helpful? I’d appreciate your reactions.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: