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Do these sources support the view that the failure of Prohibition was inevitable?

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f) Study all the sources Do these sources support the view that the failure of Prohibition was inevitable? In 1920, Prohibition came into effect across the United States. The making, selling and transporting of alcohol were banned. Thousands of illegal stills and millions of gallons of wine and spirits were destroyed. Prohibition also however led to vast increases in crime. In 1933, prohibition was brought to an end nationally although a few states still continued with their own ban on alcohol. However, was the failure of prohibition inevitable? Could it have succeeded? There are sources that suggest that Prohibition could have succeeded. Source A was written 40 years after the end of Prohibition and therefore the author will have access to a wide range of evidence as to whether Prohibition could have succeeded and why it failed. It is also from an American history book and so should be reliable. It says that "by 1917, twenty-three states had already introduced a ban on alcohol." Before Prohibition had even been introduce nationally, half the states had already introduced a ban on alcohol showing that there was enthusiasm towards Prohibition, source A also talks about the "wartime concern for preserving grain for food" and this was "at a time when large numbers of men were absent in the armed forces." Due to the fact that there was a war going on in 1917, the time was right for Prohibition to be introduced, however it wasn't until 1920 that prohibition was introduced and by that time the war had ended and there was no need to preserve grain for food. ...read more.


The final source that suggests that prohibition may have succeeded is source F, source F was a speech made by John F. Kramer in 1920, before prohibition when Kramer would have been full of hope. Kramer was the first prohibition commissioner; his job was to enforce prohibition. Kramer says "the law will be obeyed" and that "it will be enforced" the language used in this speech shows his commitment and with someone like Kramer in charge it could have worked, there was a whole commission set up to try and enforce prohibition. However this source is not reliable due to the fact that Kramer would have been bias towards his own abilities with no consideration that it might not work. Kramer is determined but 1500 agents is not enough to enforce prohibition across the whole of America, the border between America and Canada is 30,000km long and since alcohol was legal in Canada, it was impossible to enforce prohibition and stoop people smuggling alcohol from Canada. The population of America was also over 100 million and so 1500 agents was defiantly not enough to enforce Prohibition across America. The anti-saloon league had an impact on the introduction of prohibition, Rockefeller had donated $350,000 to the anti-saloon league before 1920 and $75,000 every year after that. However this wasn't enough as the best citizens still ignored the ban on alcohol. Although the war gained support for prohibition, by the time it was introduces, in 1920 the war was over and all the public support that had been gained was lost. ...read more.


In conclusion it is clear that the failure of prohibition was inevitable. Although there are reasons to suggest it might have worked they leave out one important factor. This was that the majority of people wanted to drink and as Sources C and D all too well show alcohol is addictive. America was hooked. Sources A to J combine together to show reason s why prohibition was doomed from the start. Firstly and most importantly too many people wanted to drink. The speakeasies replaced the saloons and by 1933 there were 200,000 known speakeasies in America. The work of gangsters meant that alcohol was readily available and with a population of over 100 million Americans there were not enough agents to enforce such a law. Finally the corruption of the prohibition enforcers meant that most people were allowed to get away with breaking the law and those that were caught were rarely prosecuted. No good ever came from prohibition and by 1933 all that America was left with were high levels of crime, little respect for the law and a population littered with criminals. Sources A to J definitely support the view that the failure of prohibition was inevitable and can be summed up in one quote written in 1922 by the American novelist Sinclair Lewis: 'course, I believe in it in principle, but I don't propose to have anybody telling me what to think and do. No American'll ever stand for that'. ...read more.

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