White Paper—Killroy

1. Working Hypothesis 1

The Prohibition was created outlaw alcohol but boosted illegal activity helping to create the sport of NASCAR.

1a. Working Hypothesis 2

The Prohibition was created to outlaw alcohol, but boosted illegal activity and also helped lay the foundation for modified cars.

2. Topics for Smaller Papers

Those papers would be based around my research paper. I would like to write about topics that would provide me indirectly with information and resources to produce a well written paper. The smaller papers would form a better background on my research paper. 

Definition/Classification Argument

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”.

The foundation of NASCAR and other sports like it would be laid during this era. People began 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.

Cause/Effect Argument

The American Prohibition boosted illegal activity, and created NASCAR.

Fast cars and alcohol are one hell of a combination. During the 1920’s and into the 1930’s, America instituted the 18th Amendment, it was a time of peace but illegal activity thrived. The 18th Amendment outlawed the sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages in the United States. This did not stop the average people at this time from continuing this practice. In a nut shell, illegal activity thrived and with the use of modified cars, NASCAR would be created.

Many aspects contributed to the boost in illegal activity during the Prohibition. At the time people realized that large amounts of profit could be made at the time. Alcohol was in demand, and people did almost everything to get it.

The gangsters from the 1920’s and 1930’s are some of the most iconic people of the time. Those people set the bar for the black market in the United States. The gangsters were able to control most of the alcoholic distribution and sales in the large cities. This was highly illegal but sales were crazy. Gangsters kept generating new ideas on how to profit from this amendment.

Doctors would jump on the bandwagon as well. The medical field was not subject to the alcohol ban because that is used widely within the practice. Doctors would be able to profit from the amendment because they would be paid off to write prescriptions. This again was highly illegal and generated large sums of money.

With the high demand for the illegal drinks, transportation of the alcohol for sale would evolve from simple transportation to the use of the newly adapted automobile. Cars were a new thing at this time. They were beginning to be widely used and it transformed the transportation system. The American Prohibition helped create NASCAR because the cars used were modified. The cars were made to be faster then the police and made to handle better as well. Eventually the people who illegally transported the alcohol would begin to race the cars they modified. This would lay the foundation for NASCAR, since it is a sport based on racing high performance cars. The engines were modified along with taking out unnecessary weight.

Essentially, the prohibition boosted illegal activity within the United States and with that created one of America’s greatest sports.

Rebuttal Argument

Outlawing the sale and consumption of alcohol may have created fast cars but also may have just been part of an era of change. Fast cars were around before in other countries in the world, but did they start car racing? 

3. Current State of the Research Paper

I feel very confident with my paper so far. The topic has come a long way since my creation of it a few weeks ago. The paper is starting to take shape and I should end up with a nice result. 


Sources are in previous posts for information used.

One thought on “White Paper—Killroy”

  1. Hey, Killroy.
    Your two hypotheses are not in fact two hypotheses. They’re just two steps in the same causal chain. Prohibition outlawed alcohol production and sales, which created the need for fast cars to outrun law enforcement, which resulted in a culture of renegade car racing, which was formalized as NASCAR.

    You have a knack for “talking about” a topic without actually making any claims, Killroy. It’s a skill that might serve you well in other courses, but it’s a fatal flaw in this class. You say:

    Those papers would be based around my research paper. I would like to write about topics that would provide me indirectly with information and resources to produce a well written paper. The smaller papers would form a better background on my research paper.

    And I reply:

    Yes, that was the question. What is the answer?

    Cause/Effect Argument: You say the cause and effect is obvious and natural, and it certainly sounds plausible. But, would NASCAR never have developed without Prohibition? Was there already a nascent hobby culture of modifying cars in the South before Prohibition? Or are you saying the whole idea of driving fast developed out of need? And if NASCAR came into being ONLY BECAUSE of Prohibition, then how do you explain European Formula One racing, which is an entire culture second only to soccer in popularity among all sports in many countries? Was there a European Prohibition, or might you have to admit that racing cars is just an appealing idea that develops naturally from the practice of human footraces, chariot races, horse races, etc.?

    Rebuttal Argument: I see you’ve anticipated my question! Exactly my point. Fast cars have been raced elsewhere without a Prohibition. A quick check of the history of NASCAR and Formula One will resolve the question of which came first and whether one influenced the other.

    3. Current State of the Research Paper:
    Another strong example of “talking about” an answer without providing an answer:

    I feel very confident with my paper so far. The topic has come a long way since my creation of it a few weeks ago. The paper is starting to take shape and I should end up with a nice result.


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