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History Coursework: Assignment 1 - Prohibition

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History Coursework: Assignment 1 - Prohibition 1. Why was Prohibition introduced in the USA in 1919? The main reason prohibition was introduced in 1919 was that the alcohol people drunk was the blame for drunkenness, crime and poverty. Organisations such as the Anti-Saloon league had been campaigning for a total, state-wide ban on alcohol for a long time. The Anti - Saloon league was highly supported by the churches and many small towns and rural areas. From the 1800s, temperance (Not Drinking Alcohol) was a common feature of religious groups that had settled in America in the 1800s. However, the dries (Supporters Of Prohibition) became stronger with the formation of the WCTU (Women's Christian Temperance Union) in 1873 and the Anti - Saloon League in 1893. The main differences between prohibition and temperance were that in Prohibition, all inhabitants of America were banned from selling and making Alcohol, but in temperance, they could sell it and make it as long as they didn't drink it. So they are very different, although they have the same aims. The dries were mainly the strongest in the rural areas of the South and Mid-west of America. They campaigned in each of the states for alcohol to be banned. They had a large success, so much that by 1914 some states had already prohibited making alcohol within the states, but not the selling of it. By the late 1800s, "King Alcohol" as it was known, caused more than 75% of paupery crime. ...read more.


In 1920, 122 illegal stills were seized from back rooms, bathrooms and garden sheds by government officials. Home made alcohol caused poisoning and blindness, sometimes death. This shows how the people that had voted for alcohol only a year before were now so desperate for alcohol that they would even risk death to drink it. Bootlegging, the illegal transport of alcohol from countries outside the USA to states inside the USA were so profitable that the people were willing to risk going to jail or getting a fine (The fine was around $2000, but the bootleggers made this back in one week!). To stop the illegal liquor trade, the prohibition bureau employed 2300 agents for the whole of the USA. Each agent had to cover about 260,000 square miles of land each, which is still almost an impossible task today, so it must have been a lot more difficult 80 years ago. They were also badly paid and most of them were on the payroll by Gangsters. Their choice was being bribed or murdered by Gangsters. There were criminal gangs before prohibition, but their activity and profits increased greatly when prohibition was introduced. There were huge profits involved - Gangsters made about $2 million a year from it. Rival gangs fought each other to supply the speakeasies with alcohol, hijacking each other's supplies and murdering the opposition. By the end of the decade, only the most powerful gangs survived. ...read more.


Henry Ford wanted to build a "motor car for the great multitude", and he succeeded in this dream. In 1908, less than 200,000 people in the Untied States owned cars, by 1930 over 15 million Model Ts had been sold in America and abroad. People had a mobility unknown to even the very rich 50 years before. 4. Why did the boom suddenly come to an end in October 1929? The biggest cause of the wall street crash was the fact that Henry Ford had introduced Mass Production which meant that the economy was becoming less and less strong as more people had more money, which meant shops could raise prices and the economy was suffering because of this. Another reason for this was that Henry Ford was paying his workers much higher than the usual wage, which meant people had much more money to spend, which also contributed to the problem greatly. Although less than one per cent of the American people actually possessed stocks and shares, the Wall Street Crash was to have a tremendous impact on the whole population. The fall in share prices made it difficult for entrepreneurs to raise the money needed to run their companies. Within a short time, 100,000 American companies were forced to close and consequently many workers became unemployed. As there was no national system of unemployment benefit, the purchasing power of the American people fell dramatically. This in turn led to even more unemployment. Simon Cadman 10py Page 1/5 29/04/07 1:59 AM ...read more.

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