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The battle has been here for ages it seems at least one kid in every generation asks “Why is the drinking age in America 21?” and then ” every where else in the world has a drinking age of 18″ seems to follow.  To those that are offically adults it seems unfair to have to wait until their 21rst birthday. So they don’t. This leads to underage drinking and usually recklessness.  Which brings up the two sides of the battle 1) is it better to have a higher drinking age and have most people underage drink illegally behind the scences or 2) should we lower the drinking age and just allow those who want to drink to do so in public so they don’t have to hide it. From the outside it seems that those in Europe and other countries are more relaxed about drinking which prevents youth from getting drunk because drinking is normalized. However is that really true? In this blog I am here to answer that question by looking at each individual country’s date rape rates, percentage of alcoholics, marriage/ divorce rates etc to see if  a lower drinking age is the best for our country. I am here to crack open the case and get to the bottom of the issue one country at a time.

So let’s start with the good old home county, The United States. Let’s start by getting some history on the topic, in the article titled,” Why is the drinking age 21” author Ethan Trex explains why the drinking age was changed from 18 to 21 years. In 1984 there was a law called National Minimum Drinking Age Act of 1984 which stated that if states allowed persons under 21 to imbibe they would loose a great deal of federal funding for their highways. This didn’t prevent those who are under 21 from drinking but just from possessing and posesing alcohol in public. The reasoning behind changing choosing 21 as a good age to be able to drink came from English common law centuries ago. At the time this was the age that a person could vote and become a knight so it seemed appropriate he could drink then too. During World War II the drinking age in the United States was lowered to 18 because people thought it was unfair that men could be drafted at the age of 18 but couldn’t drink. So the 21rst amendment was added by FDR which gave the decision to individual states. Therefore some states lowered their drinking age to 18 but others still kept the drinking age 21. So those young people under 21 who lived in these states would trek the journey to the more lenitant states so they could imbibe legally. Now after their night these people still had to get home which caused a lot of traffic accidents. This is why today the drinking age is 21 because organizations like MADD- Mothers Agnaist Drunk Driving- fought for a uniform national drinking age to prevent these car accidents and keep alcohol away from immature 18 year olds. I believe this article brings up many valid points, after looking into the issues history it seems that these laws weren’t made to protect young adults but were just arbitrary laws. For example the National Minimum Drinking Age Act of 1984 was passed so that states wouldn’t loose their federal funding and the age 21 was chosen because centuries ago in English common law 21 was the age of knighthood. The United Kingdom doesn’t even enforce that law today in their country. However MADD also brings up a good point in their questionaire, “Why 21″.  A common counter argument to the American drinking age being too high is that Europe has everything under control because they have lowered their drinking age to 18 which normalizes drinking. MADD counters and say that Europe has more problems with rape, injury, intoxication and school problems due to alcohol. That’s the purpose of this blog to see which way of thinking is correct or more supported by the facts.

 

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2 Comments

  1. Personally, I think Americans are just prudes. If the rest of the world can drink at 18, why can’t we? Especially because the drinking age in the US was 18 not too long ago. LAME!

    • I thought the same thing before starting this blog. I figured when an American reaches the age of 18, they are able to drive, smoke, and go to war but cannot drink? Strange. However looking into the troubles other countries are having with underage drinking and binge drinking because the drinking age is so young makes me feel differently. Even though I would love to drink sooner, I feel if this happens in America, alcohol will start to control our society and young people even more so than it already does. However I do agree that no matter the drinking age, the more important concept is teaching people who can drink how to control their consumption.


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