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The USA: Was prohibition bound to fail?

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Introduction

The USA: Was prohibition bound to fail? a) Both sources A and B agree that the banning of alcohol encouraged gangsters. Source A calls it a 'criminal boom' whilst source B refers to it as 'Gangsters ... big violent business'. They both feel that as a result of prohibition America became more lawless, with gangsters constantly battling over the control for the black market of liquor sometimes resulting in death. The two sources also agree that the Anti-Saloon League played a main part in the brining about of national prohibition. In source B it says that the league 'brought pressure on the Congress' and in source A it talks about the influence of the league when large numbers of men were absent in the armed forces.' However unlike source B, source A states that 'feelings against the German- Americans' also played a role in the bringing about of prohibition. This is because they had an important part in the brewing and distilling industry and as the war had not that long ended it may have seemed unpatriotic to put any business their way. So overall the two sources do mostly agree on which factors were mainly responsible for the introduction of prohibition although source A feels that prejudice against the German-Americans also had a significant influence. b) Source C is clearly in favor of prohibition. It has many negative aspects to it, highlighting the bad effects alcohol has. The man at the bar can be seen handing over his weeks wages, leaving his family shown in the circle with no money to live on. ...read more.

Middle

This drop is unlikely to have been caused by there being less people being drunk and disorderly, as the other statistics do not support this. The abnormality is more likely to be due to police officers not making all of the arrests they should, due to their susceptibility to bribes, highlighting the corruption of those supposed to be enforcing prohibition. e) In source J the policeman states that 'my superior officers were involved'. Source I supports this as the line of men shown is in ranking order and above the policeman is a figure which too has his hand outturned is drawn to represent a prohibition agent. This shows that they too were open to bribes backing source J. The Chicagoan policeman also talks about how he was once given an envelope containing $75 from a man on the street. Source I again supports the idea that law enforcers were open to corruption as all the figures are draw with out stretched hands to represent them openly receiving backhanders. The policeman describes all this as a 'conspiracy' as says that even if he tried to enforce the law he was unable to. The cartoon is titled 'The National Gesture' meaning that the corruption was everywhere and known about by all. This therefore supports source J as the man talks about two different areas where he has worked and in both of which he was subjected to bribes. It must however be taken into account that that source I may be over exaggerated, in order to create humor. ...read more.

Conclusion

Showing that they could not be trusted when it came to enforcing prohibition as they were open to bribes due to the low wages they were paid and the repercussions that enforcing the prohibition laws may have. The source is unreliable though as its purpose is to create humor and is therefore likely to be over exaggerated. Source J also agrees that the failure of prohibition was inevitable as again it shows the corruption of law enforcers of all ranks meaning that any resistance which arose, against prohibition was not dealt with and so simply continued. After studying all of the sources I have found that in general most sources do agree that prohibition was bound to fail. Both sets of statistics and all of the cartoons can be used to interpret this. The secondary sources, written after prohibition was abolished and all of its faults revealed also support the point of view that prohibitions failure was inevitable. The main reason behind why these sources felt prohibition would not work is that it lacked support and was not therefore a wholehearted decision from the people of America and also as it simply went against the ways of society. As the sources have demonstrated, the law was unsuccessful in dealing with the rise in crime that was produced as a result of prohibition being introduced. Had the consequences of introducing a law, so against the every day way of life for so many Americans, been considered more thoroughly then maybe it would never have been enforced nationally in the first place and much crime and disruption spared. Jemma Millhouse ...read more.

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