Do these sources support the view that the failure of Prohibition was inevitable?

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f) Study ALL the Sources. Do these sources support the view that the failure of Prohibition was inevitable?

   Sources A to E all suggest different things. There is evidence to suggest that prohibition looked like it would succeed particularly at the beginning and in rural areas. Leading up to the introduction of prohibition there was allot of support for it and many thought it would be the end to poverty problems. Rural areas were not big drinkers and prior to prohibition over half the states had already turned ‘dry’. Prohibition looked promising and there was plenty of evidence to suggest the success of it. However the real truth and fundamentals of the cause was society’s unwillingness to except prohibition; alcohol had been part of the culture especially urban culture for years. Changing social values were also happening at this time as industrial urbanization made people feel more liberated and more and more immigrants were flocking to America. If people didn’t want to abide by the law now was the time that they were more likely to rebel as they felt like they had more freedom and confidence than ever before. Due to this, prohibition became more and more likely to fail towards the end of the decade as industrialization grew, so did people’s knowledge and general management and as immigrants flocked so came their need and knowledge of alcohol. When people found a way around the law prohibition came very unlikely to succeed particularly in the urban areas where most immigrants lived and industrialization had more influence. There is evidence in the sources to suggest the decline in everyday commoners abiding by the law and the increase in crime caused by the rebellion against prohibition.

   The evidence to suggest that the failure of prohibition was inevitable comes from many different factors. One of the most important and most significant factors contributing towards the evidence of prohibition’s failure was the inefficiency of law enforcement. Right from the beginning of the introduction of prohibition the law enforcement of it was never that harsh. Straight away there were speakeasies but the police shouldn’t have let them flourish in numbers. Where often evasion, corruption and organized crime were closely linked, bootleggers found it easier to smuggle in drink as the years went on. Before the law there had been 15,000 saloons in New York whereas after there were 32,000, as backed up by source B; “by 1928 there were more than 30,000”. From bootlegging, illegal drinking and commoners alike openly violating laws, came more crime and corruption. Without prohibition there may not be a bootlegging industry at all. Gang warfare in places like Chicago and New York impressed itself on the US mentality, and serious crime rate almost doubled to what it was before the prohibition period. Crime rate increased because prohibition took away legal jobs, opening up the black-market violence this diverted resources from the enforcement of the 18th amendment, especially in cities. Perhaps the crimes that spun off prohibition were too much for the “1500 prohibition agents” to handle as source B agrees that gangsters “turned the avoidance of Prohibition in to a big violent business”. Towards the end of the decade more so, the enforcement of prohibition just wasn’t there as juries were unwilling to convict people for doing something they themselves were doing. Source I backs this up as it is a cartoon showing a row of men with a hand behind their back suggesting they are being bribed. One of these men is a magistrate. However it must be taken into consideration that this was mainly going on in cities like New York and Chicago and that Source I isn’t completely reliable as it is a cartoon- designed to mock and exaggerate situations. Source J also suggests that a possible reason for the inefficiency of law enforcement was also bribery, “It was a conspiracy and my superior officers were involved in it”. This came from one policeman talking about Chicago police forces relationship with the saloon keepers. Because this policeman worked in Chicago though, makes the source unreliable as it is a narrow view and may not have been happening everywhere in the USA.

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  The actions of businessmen had an influence of the inevitability for the failure of prohibition during the twenties too. Previous to the prohibition amendment businessmen had tended to support the introduction of the law, in order to discipline and control their workers. It was that “the evil effects of alcohol would be recognized”, said John D. Rockefeller, a wealthy industrialist form source E. however as the 1920’s went on under this new law this was not the case, “instead drinking has generally increased” and many of the “best citizens” became “ lawbreakers”. Businessmen also started to realize how ...

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