Source work on prohibition

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Mayur Mistry 11JC

History Course Work


  1. How useful is source A for studying the spread of prohibition in the United States?

Source A is useful for studying the spread of prohibition in the USA but not in the period I am studying in which is the 1920’s. This is because the map only shows the spread of prohibition from 1845-1915, which is 5 years out. It is also not that useful because, it is missing some information, for example it only shows what was happening on the east side of America and only a few parts of the west coast. Another thing that is missing on the map are some states, such as South Dakota, Texas and Florida. The map is not very clear about what prohibition is so it would not be useful to a student who knows nothing about prohibition. There is also a mis-match in dates because the title states, “The spread of prohibition, 1845-1933,” and the keys says, “States entirely dry by 1915,” this would not help me very much because I am studying prohibition in the 1920’s and the map only shows the spread of it up to 1915, which is 5 years out, but I know that prohibition carried on through the 1920’s. However the map is useful in some ways, such as it tells us when prohibition began, in 1845 which can tell us that it was popular before I became a law in 1919. Also it can be useful for a student who was looking for some background information on prohibition, for example where it started and in which state/s or areas. So it can be useful in some ways. It is also useful in the way that Martin Gilbert, the author had nothing to gain form this by showing a biased opinion, so it can be more reliable.

        I think that this map is aimed to be use by GCSE students who are studying prohibition in school and have some background information as some is missing, but if this were given to a 6year old child I feel that s/he would not understand or be confused about the map. The map was made after the event so it is secondary evidence, which would give the author, Martin Gilbert no reason to show a biased or one-sided opinion, as he would nothing to gain from it. So that would make it more reliable than some other sources that were produced during the time of prohibition. The map has been taken from a book titled, “An American History Atlas” (1968) this shows that the book has information about a lot of events that took place at different times in history, so the author may not have looked in great depth at the events of prohibition.

        So in conclusion I think that the map is useful in some ways, for example to a student studying GCSE but it would not be too useful to a person studying a higher degree (e.g. A level).      

  1. Source B and C both were written by historians, yet they give differing interpretations to why prohibition was introduced in 1919?


Source B is taken from a book called, “Success in the 20th century world affairs” which suggests that is from a book about success’s in the 20th century, so it would not specifically concentrate on particular decade or events in that decade, but it has information about 10 decades which may mean that the author only looked at few sources of information about prohibition and based his answer on that. I think the book was produced to be used in classroom in secondary schools that are teaching about the 20th century in general. Where as source C is taken from a book entitled, “the culture of the USA in the 1920’s” this suggests that is was produced for use with a student who is studying the 1920’s or prohibition in more depth, also it shows that the author of the book has looked in more depth at the subject as it concentrates on one decade so the author would have spent more time researching the subject and maybe looked at many more sources of information.

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        Source B says that prohibition was introduced because it was unpatriotic because of the fact that many of the people who sold alcohol were immigrants, mainly with German backgrounds. This was said because at the time the USA was at war with the Germans. Whereas source C says that prohibition was introduced for other reasons such as white people were afraid of drunken black people and that employers wanted to have sober employees. Also it says that they used people’s fear of God and fights between races because they said that it was protection from God and the country. I ...

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