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History Coursework on Prohibition Source A is aptly named "Slaves of the saloon". It shows a man handing over what we guess is

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History Coursework on Prohibition Source A is aptly named "Slaves of the saloon". It shows a man handing over what we guess is his weekly wages to the owner of a saloon - we guess by the men drinking in the background that he is using it to buy alcohol. The source also depicts a woman and her children sitting around a table with no food. We can guess fairly easily that this is the man in the saloon's family; there is a bill on the floor hinting at lack of money for necessities, utter desperation is on all of their faces. The poster was probably printed to persuade the general public that the 18th amendment (banning the transportation and sale of intoxicating liquors) should be passed. It is likely to have been created by one of the rich men of the Anti-Saloon League - Henry Ford or Wayne Willard. Prohibition was popular with lots of people but mostly the (positively) Christian people in the rural areas of the USA. A lot of these areas had already had local prohibition for many years but now wanted to spread it to the rest of the USA. Many people thought that if they got rid of the intoxicant itself then the problem of drunks and anti-social behaviour due to alcohol would be eliminated. ...read more.


There are seven prohibition agents in the photograph when in the whole of the Unites States of America there were only 1500. It is unlikely (but not impossible) that they were all at one raid. Unless (as the photo suggests by the amount of alcohol seized) it was a big and dangerous raid. Where in the 1920'2 the photograph was taken is extremely important to the viewers understanding of why it was taken - whether it was at the end of the 20's as desperation - trying to reassure the public of a failing law, or at the beginning - telling people that it was working and would continue to work as long as the outcome was like that photograph, lots of liquor seized and the cracking down on crime. By showing this photo to the general public maybe the government hoped to achieve shock among the citizens of the USA as to exactly how much illegal alcohol was being passed, but also maybe to create reassurance that the prohibition agents were doing their job. The fact that the photo only shows the raid on the speakeasy after it happened does not help us to see exactly what went on in the raid. ...read more.


We could also say from the same sources and information that prohibition failed if the governments aim was to reduce drinking. During prohibition the amount of illegal speakeasies doubled the amount of legal saloons before the prohibition amendment was put in place. Gangsters made lots of money by bootlegging and it opened up a lot of windows of opportunities for gangsters such as Capone or O'Bannion. In five years of prohibition (source C) shows that the amount of arrests for drunk behaviour almost trebled. Bribery was a strong contender in getting off the hook (Source F - John Torrio bribing Bill Thompson). The police failed to follow through arrests - or 6902 cases involving the breaking of the law in Source D about 6074 were dropped. 5 people held for alcohol related crimes were held for trial. A film we watched called "some like it hot" shows several gang murders true of every day life in Chicago. The city was ruled by gangsters and this only stopped when Capone went to jail in 1031 for tax evasion. Over the prohibition period the number of federal convicts went up to over 500%. Prohibition had failed. Failed in its aims to make the USA a more friendly, better place to live and most importantly - to reduce crime rates. ...read more.

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