Fairness of the Drinking Age Laws: Young Adults or Old Children?




Rivera, Kaitlyn

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The minimum legal drinking age is a law that was created in the United States as a way to prevent drinking and driving related deaths. This law was meant to save lives and, in order to do so, the politics of that time blamed those who were of the ages 18-20. The law contains characteristics of discrimination and also disrupts the lives of an entire age group. The purpose of the law should be considered along with the effect it has had on preventing alcohol related deaths. Discrimination is a problem for any society. In order to create a better world, it is important that individuals are given equal consideration under the laws. Discrimination has been identified as a major issue in society with the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act was also passed to prevent discrimination against people over the age of 40. So if it is not acceptable to discriminate based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex or old age, is it acceptable to discriminate against those of young age? It is important for society to identify discrimination and to protect vulnerable minorities against it. In this paper, I will discuss the issue of fairness that deals with the minimum legal drinking age act. The overarching idea of fairness that is found across various cultures is important to keep in mind while evaluating the law. Also, it is important to consider the history behind the drinking laws in the United States beginning with the prohibition era. The effects that the law has had on society and the ability of the law to achieve its goal are discussed; along with the role that the scapegoat theory played in the laws development. Finally, alternatives to the minimum legal drinking age law are examined.



fairness, scapegoat, minimum legal drinking age, laws, Honors College


Rivera, K. (2016). Fairness of the drinking age laws: Young adults or old children? (Unpublished thesis). Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas.


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