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Which of these two sources is the more reliable as evidence about Prohibition?

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History Coursework - (c) Koral Jackson 10R Study Sources E and F. Which of these two sources is the more reliable as evidence about Prohibition? Source E is more reliable than Source F in many ways. Source E is from 1932, just before Prohibition was ending, and Source F is from 1920 which is much earlier, just as Prohibition was being introduced. Immediately it is obvious that Source E is more reliable in this way, as the person who wrote the letter was likely to have been around through the whole of Prohibition and had seen what had happened, whereas the Prohibition Commissioner speaking in 1920 had not yet seen any of what Source E talks about. Source E is from a letter written by a wealthy industrialist. There is no obvious reason why he would lie about Prohibition in this letter, as there is nothing included in it ...read more.


Source A says that "[Prohibition] created the greatest criminal boom in American history", which is in agreement with Source E where is says "a vast army of lawbreakers has appeared... and crime has increased to a level never seen before". Source B also agrees with Source E where is says "By 1928 there were more than 30,000 'speakeasies' in New York", which backs up Source E where it says "the speakeasy has replaced the saloon". Sources G and H, which are factual statistics, also back up Source E. Source G can be seen in two different ways, but one of these is that the number of illegal stills were increasing over time, and so were the amounts of alcohol produced. This supports Source E where is says "drinking has generally increased;... ...read more.


The man speaking in Source F is only saying what he thinks will happen, as Prohibition was only just beginning and he had not yet seen what the writer of Source E discussed. He couldn't know anything for sure, and therefore there are no facts at all included in the source, which immediately makes it unreliable. However, this source does show that there were people involved in the reinforcement of Prohibition who were detirmined to make it work, and so it is proving that in fact not everybody was against Prohibition. Some of the other sources suggest that there was nobody willing to give it a go. In conclusion, I can say with no doubt at all that Source E is far more reliable than Source F. The main reason is of course that Source E can be backed up by facts and other sources, and Source F cannot. ...read more.

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