A major earthquake—later estimated to be between 7.7 and 7.9 on the Richter scale—struck San Francisco at 5:12 a.m. The devastation grew as broken gas lines caused widespread fires and much of the city was destroyed. As many as 3,000 people were killed, and more than half of the survivors found themselves homeless.
The Eighteenth Amendment to the Constitution forbidding the manufacture, sale, transportation, import, and export of “intoxicating liquors” was ratified, instituting Prohibition nationwide. The amendment was repealed by the Twenty-first Amendment in 1933.
The National Origins Act refined the immigration quota system, created by the 1921 Emergency Quota Act, to favor northern and western European immigration over southern and eastern European immigration.