• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

The Prohibition experiment of the 1920's

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

The Prohibition experiment of the 1920's was originally introduced mainly because of pressure from groups such as the Anti-saloon league. However reasons such as World War I, public safety and the general concern for the state of morality within the USA also contributed to Congress passing the Volstead Act in 1920. After thirteen years of America being 'dry,' and much debate, President Roosevelt repealed Prohibition in 1933 after declaring the 'noble experiment' had been a failure.' Today the period of thirteen years within America where alcohol was illegal is often referred to as an 'experiment.' This word alone implies that it was a futile period within America's history, as the noble act of banning alcohol didn't last. Prohibition is also thought of as a social experiment, these are conducted to see whether change can or cannot be brought about within society. Although the period of Prohibition didn't stop the American people drinking completely, which was its aim, the amount of alcohol consumed had gone down by 1933 when the Volstead act was repealed. Whether or not the Prohibition experiment of the 1920's within the USA, was a failure or not has long since been debated. There were a number of reasons why it failed, but against these arguments there were also reasons why it was originally passed and why although it was repealed it did succeed in it's ...read more.

Middle

There was not enough money within the system to ensure that government officials were properly paid and could put money into crime busting operations. The coast of the USA stretches for eighteen thousand seven hundred miles, an impossible amount of land to patrol successfully. At the most there were only two thousand eight thousand and thirty-six Prohibition agents; most of who were riddled with corruption, to ensure that alcohol was not smuggled across this vast stretch of land. They were only paid $2,500 per year to ensure that an industry worth two billion dollars did not prosper. People involved in organised crime easily bribed these poorly paid prohibition agents with the amount of money that was made in the industry of selling illegal alcohol. Ten percent of Prohibition agents were fined for corruption between 1920-30, the agents were not being paid enough which allowed them to be bribed by gangs and turn a blind eye to all the illegal activity that was going on. In 1924 alone forty million dollars worth of alcohol, only five percent of the amount being sold was intercepted. This proved that the volume of the business was immense and the number of Prohibition agents employed was simply not enough. From 1920 drinking alcohol was prohibited, however the consumption of alcohol for medicinal purposes was still allowed. ...read more.

Conclusion

the number of drink related deaths going down until then and then shooting back up in 1923, when the death rate became 3.2 per 100,000 people. From the very start of Prohibition, the government didn't put as much effort into maintaining the Volstead Act as they should have, the low number of officers employed to ensure that the law was maintained were under paid making them easy target for bribery. This is another key reason as to why Prohibition failed. Although the period of Prohibition failed to keep America completely 'dry,' the amount of alcohol consumed did fall and by more than half by 1933, many historians argue that this is Prohibition succeeded, as although drinking didn't cease completely it did decrease. The Prohibition experiment of the 1920's was a failure, because of lack of effort the government put into maintaining it. There was not enough money in the system and officers were poorly paid and allowed large gangs to spring up. The demand for it by the societies of American also made it fail. Although the experiment succeeded in brining down the drinking rate in the USA, it did not achieve in stopping it completely, which was its aim, therefore it did not succeed in its aim and consequently failed. HOW FAR DO YOU AGREE THAT THE PROHIBITION EXPERIENT OF THE 1920'S WAS A FAILURE? Nadirah Kaba L6DK ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE USA 1919-1941 section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE USA 1919-1941 essays

  1. (Q1) Describe some of the key features of Americn society in the 1920's?

    Some women even started to smoke and drank alcohol in public even those women who came from very respectable homes. Women who did this were called "flappers". Attitudes towards women also soon changed and women had much more freedom than before and were allowed to work and spend.

  2. The USA

    Because of all these officers, prohibition was always going to fail. Lastly source J also have the same message as source I, suggesting prohibition was never going to work. This is because of all the irresponsible officers working for the government; they were distracting prohibition, making it difficult to work.

  1. Why was Prohibition such a controversial issue during the 1920's

    of unequivocal success from the likes of John F Kramer the first prohibition commissioner, there were many problems that arose which threatened the success of prohibition. It has been claimed by many historians that Prohibition was doomed to failure and that it was a classic case of a law being passed that was impossible to enforce.

  2. To what extent was America in the 1920's a 'Divided society'?

    Although there were many signs of division, America also was united in their attitudes towards League of Nations. The majority did not want to get involved in these as they wanted to return to 'normalcy' and not get involved with Europe's activities.

  1. History - Prohibition

    A large amount of the beer in America was produced by German immigrants and drinking their beer would be seen as not being patriotic. To add to this, the dries also claimed, after the Bolshevik Revolution in November 1917, that Bolshevism thrived on drink and that alcohol led to lawlessness in the city.

  2. To what extent did America roar in the 1920s?

    During World War One many black people moved to the northern cities to do the new jobs that the war had created and this mass movement led to housing shortages which triggered many violent riots. The Ku Klux Klan used these riots to stir up racial hatred and prejudice and its membership started to grow.

  1. Prohibition was doomed a failure from the start - agree or disagree

    To these gangs, prohibition was a huge financial boost. The most infamous gangster during the prohibition was Al Capone, as you can see from source 11, was continually perceived by the public in almost a celebrity status. Al Capone was completely the opposite, he took over Chicago and made around

  2. In the 1920's America was the richest and most powerful country in the world ...

    The Tennessee Valley was a huge area, which cut across seven states. It had huge physical problems, during the wet season the Tennessee River would flood and throughout the dry season it was reduced to a mere trickle. The surrounding land was used for farming, but had turned into a dust bowl.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work