Let's think about whether all acts of Congress deserve our respect and obedience. Suppose Congress enacted a law -- and the Supreme Court ruled it constitutional -- requiring American families to attend church services at least three times a month. Should we obey such a law? Suppose Congress, acting under the Constitution's commerce clause, enacted a law requiring motorists to get eight hours of sleep before driving on interstate highways. Its justification might be that drowsy motorists risk highway accidents and accidents affect interstate commerce. Suppose you were a jury member during the 1850s and a free person were on trial...
If Prohibition is an example of peaceful civil disobedience, why do we still have thousands in jail and thousands more arrested each year for drug violations? There were certainly many who agreed with the Prohibition laws (my grandmother was a founding member of the WCTU), just as there are many who agree with the drug laws today. Prohibition and ending prohibition had much more to do with backroom payoffs to politicians than with what was right or constitutional.
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