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

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Introduction

Study sources E and F. Which of these two sources is the more reliable as evidence about prohibition? Source E is a personal letter written by John D. Rockefeller Jnr, who was a wealthy industrialist. In the letter, it shows that he first was campaigning for Prohibition to be introduced. In his letter, he says 'I hoped it would be widely supported by public opinion and the day would soon come when the evil effects of alcohol would be recognised'. However, later he goes on to say that he was wrong and that the introduction of Prohibition was a mistake. He admits this by saying: 'I have slowly and reluctantly come to believe that this has not been the result. Instead, drinking has generally increased....'. Source F is a speech given by John F Kramer who was the first Prohibition Commissioner and in his speech, he says that Prohibition will be obeyed and he believes that Prohibition will be a success. He says, 'The law will be obeyed in cities, large and small, and in villages'. He also believed that the enforcers of Prohibition would try their utmost best to make sure that people could not get hold of alcohol. ...read more.

Middle

Al Capone decided to take advantage of this and did so by bribing the policemen, judges and politicians. This meant that he could control the state with very little fear of arrest. Al Capone ran 'speakeasies' or illegal bars where people used to drink. This seems to agree with what Rockefeller is saying in his letters. It also says that normal people resorted to crime. Source A says: 'For no earlier law had gone against the daily customs, habits and desires of so many Americans'. This source is also a passage taken from an American textbook. This means that there is a balanced view of what happened. The textbook was also produced after Prohibition was finished. This meant that it had the chance to review prohibition as a whole. Source H supports Source E because it is a statistic table and shows drinkers increased during Prohibition. Source H shows that in 1920, one year after the Volstead Act, 14,313 people were caught drunk. In 1925, 6 years into Prohibition, 51,361 people were caught drunk. This showed a 360% increase, a total of 37,048 increase. ...read more.

Conclusion

However, Source I also shows that that the number of illegal alcohol seized had drastically gone up. This possibly meant that the police were doing better jobs and were actually stopping the production of alcohol. In conclusion I can say that I think that source E is more reliable than Source F. Firstly, because it was produced towards the end of Prohibition, which meant that the Source writer, Rockefeller, had the benefit of seeing the effects of Prohibition, a hindsight. Source F was a speech and at the start of Prohibition, and the speech-giver, Kramer, was being optimistic and hopeful that Prohibition would work. Secondly, he wrote all this in a personal letter. In a personal letter it is much easier to express his personal thoughts and feelings. Kramer spoke in a speech, and so, his views were more opinionated and were motivating rather than the truth, as he attempted to make himself look stronger. Thirdly Rockerfeller had no motive for writing what he did, whereas on the other hand, Kramer did. His reasons for these are that he was the Prohibition Commissioner and he had to make sure that he enforced the law. Although both sources are useful, Source E is more authentic and is more reliable. Abbas Tejani Prohibition part (c) ...read more.

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