History Coursework: Prohibition

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History Coursework: Prohibition

Question (A)

        Sources A and B both agree that the anti-saloon league and moral pressure helped bring in prohibition. However, source A disagrees with source B to a certain extent in that it identifies other factors that also helped.        

        Within Source A we are told that the ban on alcohol was due to many reasons; the bad influence of saloons, the wartime concern for preserving grain for food, feelings against the German-Americans who played a great part in brewing and distilling alcohol, and the great influence from the anti-saloon league at a time when large numbers of men were absent from the armed forces. The most important influence was the moral fervour inspired by the ‘War to make the World a Safer Place’. As you can see there was large public pressure from all directions for prohibition, telling the country  that drinking was morally wrong. There were many Americans who supported prohibition, particularly mothers and family people not wanting their fathers spending their money on alcohol in saloons all night, wanting them home instead and spending money on food and clothing.

        Source A was actually taken from an American History book in which has many facts and figures about the prohibition period, however the source does not actually state whether it is for or against prohibition, merely gives us examples of how prohibition came about. It later carries on to state the consequences of prohibition; the greatest criminal boom in American history.

        Source B agrees with Source A that the anti-saloon league was one of the largest influences on congress to introduce prohibition. However the source does not state any other reasons why America introduced the banning of alcohol, compared with source A having many reasons. Source B states that the anti-saloon league pushed the pressure onto congress, and by 1919 prohibition had been introduced.

‘The first prohibition commissioner had no doubts that he would stamp out the evils of drink’ gives us insight to the fact America was very confident that prohibition was to work, the first commissioner being an important part in prohibition. 1500 prohibition agents were appointed to help this man introduce the new law to whole of America.

Both sources agree that crime rates rose, however Source A concentrates on normal Americans breaking the prohibition law; ‘No earlier law had produced such widespread crime’ telling us Americans across the country still wanted to drink. Source B tells us that by 1928 30,000 ‘speakeasies’ had been opened in New York alone. Gangsters like Dutch Schulz and Al Capone introduced large, violent business’ importing illegal alcohol into the country, blaming these for the failure of prohibition.

Both Sources agree that the anti-saloon league was a large part in the introduction of prohibition, however only Source A tells us that there were other reasons, and both sources agree that America saw the largest crime boom in American history due to prohibition, but source A concentrates on the public across American failing to abide by the law, and source B concentrating on the illegal and dangerous business’ set up by Gangsters, importing illegal alcohol into the country. The sources are similar in how prohibition started and failed, however both sources have different reasons as to why it all came about. They both agreed on the consequences; prohibition introducing the largest criminal boom in the United States of America.

Question (b)

        From glancing at these two sources, it is blatant that both posters were propaganda made to influence people towards prohibition. Source C is a picture of a man at a bar in a saloon, handing over a bag of money, representing his week’s wages. Underneath is a small glimpse of his family at home, the mother bent over the table crying and a little boy playing with an empty bowl, both wearing old torn clothes. This is showing that the week’s wages that are being spent in the saloon is needed at home, alongside the father. The basic message of the poster is alcohol has caused this sad family life scene, and prohibition would solve these family problems. In the corner of the poster is also a group of men gambling, wasting money that is needed at home.

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Source D is a simple picture of a boy and girl walking past a saloon door, with the caption ‘Daddy’s in there’. The children are looking upset, and are dressed scruffily. Below it states ‘And our shoes and stockings and food are in the saloon too, and they’ll never come out’. Again is saying that the money spent in a saloon is needed for families and their well being.

        Both posters are aimed at family men, in an attempt to guilt them into wanting to ban alcohol, and to make them see the effects of their drinking. The American ...

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