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c) Study Sources E and F Which of these two sources is the more reliable as evidence about Prohibition?

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Introduction

Jessica Hallett c) Study Sources E and F Which of these two sources is the more reliable as evidence about Prohibition? Prohibition was the banning of manufacture, sale or transportation of intoxicating liquors. It became law in 1919, when temperance movements pressured Congress for the Eighteenth Amendment to the American Constitution. The Volstead Act of 1920 defined 'intoxicating liquors' as anything containing more than half a percent of alcohol. At the start of Prohibition, what with the enthusiasm and influence of both of the main temperance movements, the Anti-Saloon League and the Women's Christian Union, many people were very keen about it and were convinced that it would work and was going to last. Many important people had few doubts that Prohibition was going to be a success. These two sources were written by influential people and although this may have meant that the source itself was slightly biased, this doesn't make them useless. Source E was a letter written in 1932 by a wealthy industrialist, John D. ...read more.

Middle

This source also starts off with an optimistic approach and hope that Prohibition will work. As Prohibition Commissioner, he has some power and influence, and demands that "The law will be obeyed". He wants to make sure the law survives. "Where it is not obeyed, it will be enforced" "Liquor must not be manufactured. We shall see that it is not. Nor sold, nor given away". Kramer is a supporter of Prohibition and has no doubts about it. He is clearly determined to make this work and is definitely convinced that Prohibition will be a success. He is speaking in 1920, which is obviously just as Prohibition is starting up; The Eighteenth Amendment to the American Constitution was passed in 1919. This shows that he is almost ignorant and obviously doesn't know that Prohibition will turn out to be very unsuccessful. Both sources are fairly reliable but they have some big differences. Source E is more reliable as evidence for Prohibition because of the date it was written, being after Prohibition (the law was abolished in 1933). ...read more.

Conclusion

However, the source could be seen as biased, because of the fact that Rockefeller was a wealthy businessman who had a lot of power and could be making a false show of whether he cared or not. This letter was published on the front of the New York Times, which would obviously make a difference as to what he would write in it. In conclusion I think that Source E is far more reliable than Source F, mainly because of the date it was written, which is very significantly just before the very end of Prohibition meaning that everything has already happened and Rockefeller can talk about the reasons for and the consequences of Prohibition whereas, with Source F being before the majority of Prohibition has taken place, Kramer is ignorant to the consequences of Prohibition. Although he is far more keen and enthusiastic than John D. Rockefeller and was a Prohibition Commissioner, his determination is all in vain. In Source F, he demands that "the law will be obeyed", but we know now that the law wasn't obeyed and "crime...increased to a level never seen before" (Source E). ...read more.

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