Question (f) – Do these sources support the view that the failure of Prohibition was inevitable?
I am going to structure my answer by first saying how each source proves that the failure of prohibition was inevitable, and then I am going to say how each source shows that the failure of prohibition was not inevitable.
Source A says how some states in America had tried prohibition before, they tried prohibition in 1917 and it was not successful, this shows how that if it had not succeeded in a few states, then the chance of it succeeding nationwide was slim. It did not work because as the source says, ‘for no earlier law had gone against the daily customs, habits and desires of so many Americans’, this is saying how the law was going against what people did on a daily basis, and the law was stopping them doing this, and they thought that this was unacceptable and so they carried no drinking even though it was illegal.
Source B says how there were 1500 prohibition agents, and this would seem like a lot of people to enforce prohibition but from my own knowledge I know that this was never enough agents to properly enforce the law, there was also the 30 000 speakeasies across America which were not closed, this is because there will always be a demand for alcohol and it is such a big business.
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Source C is a picture of a man at a bar, he is handing over his week’s wages and the slogan is ‘a club member in good standing paying his dues’, this picture is showing that the failure of prohibition is inevitable because it is saying how the tradition and custom of Americans was impossible to stop, and therefore prohibition was never going to succeed.
I believe that source D is also saying the same thing as source C as it is the children’s father who is in the pub everyday, as it is such a tradition to drink that even though it was illegal to drink people were still drinking.
Source E shows how the failure of prohibition is inevitable as it is John Rockefeller saying how he believed that it would work, but as time went by he realised that it was not working, as drinking had generally increased, he noticed how speakeasies replaced the saloon, this shows how when people couldn’t drink they just drank illegally and went against the law. Drinking became a game for some of the best citizens and if they could not uphold the law then how could ordinary citizens be expected to?
Source F does not have a reason as to why prohibition might fail, as it is all a reason why it would not fail.
Sources G and H both do not show that the failure was inevitable as they are only figures from the time of prohibition so therefore cannot be a prediction of prohibition failing, the only thing that these prove is that alcohol had an increase in sales and production when the law was made so therefore more people were drinking so prohibition was failing.
Source I shows that prohibition would fail as it shows many of the highest ranked citizens such as; prohibition agents, police officers, politicians, magistrates, party officials and clerks, could be bribed into ignoring people breaking the law, then how could the ordinary people be expected to take the laws seriously
Source J shows that the failure of prohibition was inevitable as it was too difficult for an ordinary policeman to not get corrupted so therefore people could get away with drinking easily as the people who were supposed to be upholding the law were turning a blind eye to it.
Source A suggests that the failure of prohibition was not inevitable because it gives the impression that there was a lot of support for prohibition, and so this would mean that there was a chance that prohibition was going to be successful.
Source B also gives a reason for prohibitions failure not being inevitable, as there was a lot of effort being put into enforcing prohibition with the 1500 agents trying to enforce this law.
Source C shows that prohibition could have been successful as it shows how people’s lives were and this means that someone must have wanted to change things.
Source D’s evidence to show that prohibitions failure was not inevitable is the same as C’s as it shows how people wanted things to change to make it better for children.
Source E shows someone who supported prohibition and therefore this means that it did have support and therefore there were people who could make I a success. This did not work though as there were not enough people who supported prohibition to stop the people who were drinking illegally.
Source F is a good example of why it was not inevitable that prohibition would fail, this is because John F Kramer was extremely determined for prohibition to be as success, and he put a lot of effort into spreading the message that he was not going to let anyone drink.
Sources G and H show that prohibition might not have failed as more people were being arrested for drinking and so the police were working harder at enforcing the law. Although this information can also show that more alcohol was being made and therefore the law was not working.
Source I does not show that prohibition could have been a success, but from my own knowledge I know that many officials were keen on enforcing prohibition at the very start in 1919.
Source J shows that prohibition could have been successful as the policeman does say that he tried to enforce the law, he just found it very hard as there were so many bribes around.
In conclusion I feel that although some of the sources show that prohibition could have succeeded the majority of the evidence I collected shows that prohibition was an inevitable failure. This is because everyone was still drinking even when the law was in action. Also nobody believed that it could work and therefore didn’t waste their time trying to make it work.