Prohibition, the Vietnam War, and highway budgets each played a role.
For decades the drinking age in the U.S. has been 21-years-old. Compared to legal drinking ages around the world, the U.S. is fairly high, with many countries using the age of 18 as the benchmark, while in other places teens as young as 16 are legal to drink. The drinking culture of teens in the U.S. was depicted in the 1980s with films like Weird Science and Sixteen Candles. But, the 1980s was also when the drinking ages changed across America.
The Reagan administration took the matter of drunk driving very seriously and as such imposed harsh punishments for states that kept their low-age drinking laws. But, the conflict over this issue dates back to Nixon’s presidency when the Twenty-sixth Amendment was passed, giving those who could be drafted, 18 and up, the right to vote as well. In light of the new voting laws, 30 states moved to lower the legal drinking age.
Then in the 1980s Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) changed how we saw teen drinking forever. Have a look at the video below to find out exactly why the drinking age is 21 in every state of the U.S.SKM: below-content placeholder