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Introduction

Assignment Two: Objectives 2 and 3: 1. What can you learn from source A about why the Anti-Saloon League opposed the sale of alcohol? Source A is a poster issued in 1910 by the Anti-Saloon League, this was a US organisation which wanted to prohibit alcohol. From source A, a number of conclusions can be drawn up as to why the Anti-saloon League were against the sale of alcohol. The title "THE POOR MAN'S CLUB", immediately catches your eye, the phrase may connote that the men that attend those salons will be poor as Richard P. Hobson states "they go out and work... go into the saloon and hand the saloon keeper their money", leaving them with no wages left to pay for food, shelter or clothes, in other words making them poor, men that don't go into saloons will have money to support their needs. Hobson also states that those men pay for something that "ruins their own lives", by ruining their wellbeing as large consumption of alcohol damages their health, makes them addicted to the substance making it harder to stop drinking and also damages any relationship that their men will have with either their partners of family as alcohol can make people aggressive and not in control of their actions. Hobson also states that men "are slaves of the saloon", this suggest that men are only working to obtain the alcohol and that alcohol is inferior to them which to some extent is true and supported by not only this source but many others. A small circular image on the advertisement shows a child holding an empty bowl where as the mother seems distressed, upset and tired. The empty bowl can represent the idea of the men not bringing home any money as it's wasted on alcohol and as a result children were not fed properly, the upset mother figure may represent the fact that this is not the first time that the 'husband' has done this, the fact that her face is on the table suggests she has given up hope of the man leaving the alcohol. ...read more.

Middle

These reasons were supported by sources D, H and E and suggest that people and especially gangsters did not respect, let alone abide the Prohibition law. And still the flag remained the covered in liquor stains. 4. Study sources F, G, I and J. How useful are these sources in helping you to understand the public attitudes to Prohibition in the 1920's and early 1930's? Source F is a part of an article by Alec Wilder, a New York composer, speaking in the 1950s. He describes his experience in the speakeasies, one important comment is where he says "I started drinking in speaks", suggesting that people that didn't drink wanted to try out for the thrill and must have got addicted to it like a drug. As far as usefulness, I don't think this source is that useful as it was written couple of decades after the prohibition, and would count as a secondary source rather than a primary source. Plus after such a long time people's memory may not be as precise as they make it out to be. But can be seen as useful in aspects of describing the atmosphere inside a speakeasy, and does seem to help understand the attitude, in that people were happy to attend speakeasies for the thrill and obviously to have a drink, and majority were happy to attend, they weren't forced, plus you experience a feeling of acceptance "you belonged to a special society". Source G is an extract from Only Yesterday, a book written by a journalist in 1931 describing the life of the notorious gangster Al Capone, and how a he took advantage of the situation and managed to make millions and a name for himself out of it. The article goes on to say how he wanted "control" of Chicago and by the middle of the decade he had achieved that control. Immediately you see that source is biased towards Al Capone and in favour of him and the business he ran. ...read more.

Conclusion

In Source H Capone mentions that he is a "businessman" supplying "popular demand", which some extend supports this. Capone also helped the people in other ways. For example after the Wall St Crash many people were poor and hungry. In Chicago Capone opened Soup Kitchens so that the hungry could eat during the depression, which otherwise would have starved. He also gave clothes and food to the poor, created opportunities for black people in music as he had links all over. Capone reached somewhat a celebrity status. In Chicago he was rich and powerful, living the American dream. He had bodyguards and was known by everyone, even the president wanted a beer, source J, so imagine the rest of the public. Also Capone wasn't seen as public enemy number one as everyone has a freedom to own a business (the nature of the business is not taken into account here), and Capone was merely exercising that right to run a private business. He also employed hundreds of people to help run his monopoly. "He had gained complete control of the suburb of Cicero" as stated in Source G. Personally I don't believe Al Capone was seen as public enemy number one by the government, but I think he should have been seen as that, because he was dangerous. He was a cold blooded criminal that wanted money and power, and did everything he could to get it. He bribed the authorities and other businessmen, and kill anyone that got in the way of him, getting what he wanted. The government panicked when Capone had all that power and had to create something that would allow them to start getting that power back; by labelling him public enemy number one is a good starting point as they turned the public against him. Even though Capone helped people, I think he became too greedy for his own good, I think he wanted to play the role of god, where he could control everything and at one point in the prohibition period I think he achieved that to some extent. ...read more.

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