Was Prohibition Bound to Fail? Sources Questions

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Was Prohibition Bound to Fail

  1. Study Sources A and B. How far do these two accounts agree about Prohibition?

Both  A and B state that prohibition encouraged gangs and organised crime. In Source A, it states that prohibition created a ‘criminal boom’ and in Source B, it states that prohibition had given ‘Gangsters, big, violent business’. In this way the sources agree that prohibition did increase the amount of crime.

Another agreement in the sources is that the ‘Anti-Saloon League’ put pressure on congress to put the ban of alcohol into place. In both sources, it talks about how the Anti-Saloon league wanted to ban alcohol as it used too much grain, which could be used for more important things such as feeding the hungry and troops during wartime. although the sources don’t mention it the anti saloon league also wanted prohibition because of the social effects of alcohol and alcoholism they also felt that it caused people to behave immorally and was there for immoral itself. This is another major way in which the sources agree.

One way difference between the sources is that Source A talks of alcohol related to crime where as Source B talks of alcohol related to business. This could be because source B was written in a international book on American history so the industrial effect of prohibition would be more important than the social effects i.e crime. In Source A it says that alcohol caused the biggest criminal boom in history and ‘widespread crime’, however, in Source B, it says that Al Capone said ‘Prohibition is a business, all I do is supply a public demand’. Source B describes the doings of big gangsters such as Al Capone as business whereas Source A calls it crime. Al Capone was a gang leader and made millions from dealing with illegal alcohol. The reason for the referral to the behaviour of gangsters and bootleggers as crime seems to make the comments more personal and involved with the reader this is probably because source A was written in an American history text book so it is meant to make the young Americans away of this period of their countries culture but source B is almost more observatory it shows this by containing more facts unlike source A which is more opinion.

Another disagreement is that they differ from each other when discussing whether prohibition was a good idea or not. Source B is clearly in favour of the ban more than Source A as Source A says that alcohol former ‘the daily customs, habits and desires of so many Americans’. This talks about alcohol more as a part of life than anything else whereas Source B disagrees with this and talks of alcoholism as ‘one of the great evils of the times’. This could be a difference in opinion of the writers or editors of the sources. In source A it could be justifying the failure of prohibition and why American was no longer ‘dry’ at the time of writing.

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Overall the sources agree on that prohibition tried to stop the production and consumption of alcohol but they disagree on whether prohibition was a ban of alcoholism and crime or whether prohibition was a ban on a every day activity   and american custom.

  1. Study Sources C and D. Were the artists of these two posters for or against Prohibition?’

 Both Sources C and D are for prohibition. This is apparent because in source C by the way the picture shows a picture of a man handing over his weekly wages for alcohol while his ...

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