Prohibition of Alcohol Essay

From source A you can learn that they were very much against the sale of alcohol. Source A is a poster issued in 1910. It was a propaganda poster. The Anti saloon league (ASL) were against the sale of alcohol because they believed that the bars would make it’s customers poor (the title of the poster is “The poor man’s club” with a picture of a man handing over all of his wages) and that men, women and children would go without food just for a drink. (Another image on the poster is of a wife and a child not eating)

The ASL also believed that a customer belongs to the bar like a club and that his wages pay for his membership. The poster also reads, “A club member in good standing” ‘paying his dues’. Another strong belief was that the customers were addicted to the saloon and they can’t give it up, they are ‘slaves to the saloon’ and that they belong to the owner of the saloon, ‘the slave holder’. As well as this there is a story about a man finding out that his wife and children go without food. This makes people feel guilty if alcohol is not banned. In source b and in source c it gives us lots of reasons why prohibition should have been brought into place apart from the ones given in source A.

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Source B tells of the ASL and the Women’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) who believed that alcohol is ‘ungodly’, evil and wasteful. It also tells us that ‘Protestants’ protested for prohibition on both religious and economic grounds. During world war one grain into the manufacturing of alcohol was banned. At this time prohibition got a boost because the USA were fighting Germany and many breweries were German owned. The Americans did not buy alcohol because of the hostility with the Germans. In source C it tells of how John. D.

Rockerfeller was very much in favour of prohibition because he believed that without alcohol the workers would be more productive and that there would be a reduction in work related accidents. Source E is a German cartoon published in the 1920’s showing Uncle Sam smashing bottles the message in the cartoon is that prohibition of alcohol is not working. The cartoon shows a demon-like creature pouring more bottles than Uncle Sam can smash. I think that the creature represents the ‘bootleggers’ like al Capone and I know that Uncle Sam is a representation of the American Government.

The cartoon is clearly sending a message that prohibition is not working. I believe that source F does agree with source E because, Source F is a piece of writing by a journalist in 1931 and a journalist’s job is to gather evidence. It shows that the Government only hired 520 men as prohibition agents to patrol the whole of the USA and when it did go up it was only to 836, which is not enough to cope with a country the size of America. Also the highest the agent’s salaries reached was $2,300, which was not enough to stop the agents from taking bribes to turn a ‘blind eye’.

All of these things are evidence supporting Source E and it’s message that prohibition doesn’t work. Source G agrees as well. Source G is a table showing arrests for drinking offences in Philadelphia 1920-1925 and the extent of increase. It also shows that the ‘drink driving’ offences went up between the years of 1920-1925. Here is a sample of the records,’1921… 494, in 1923… 645, and finally in 1925… 814′ this was an increase of 326. The number of ‘habitual drunkards’ (alcoholics) went up; as well in 1920 there were 33 then in 1925 there were 814.

Finally, the total prosecutions for drink related offences rose enormously in the years of 1920 and 1925. There were 20443 in 1920 and then three years later in 1923 there were 54124. Two years later in 1925 there were 58517; this was an increase of 38074. However, ‘drunk and disorderly conduct’ went up and “1920. 6097” then “1923. 8067 (up) but then “1925. 5522” (down) this could be due to the fact that they were not arrested because of bribes offered to officers.

All in all source G supports Source E because they both show, along with Source F, that prohibition did not work, as is the message that source E shows us. The dream in source D did not come to pass for many reasons. Source D is from “The American Issue” which is an ‘anti-alcohol paper’, which is dated 16th January 1920. The idea behind this article was that without alcohol, America would be a better nation, in fact its slogan was, “A Saloonless Nation and a Stainless Flag” This meant, no alcohol, any ‘stains’ on America.

Their way of life also says, now that prohibition has come into force “Faith… devotion have triumphed” They said, “Saloon … evils have been overthrown. ” Life will be altogether better, no more poor families, “poverty-stricken”, there will be happy people, not broken-hearted. ” It also says that with prohibition, Christmas will be, “of joy and cheer. ” They also said that fathers would be better workers, “industrious”. And that there will be “less crime to prosecute” they too believed that there would be “an increase in the respect for the law.

In Source F and K it tells us that this did not happen, Source F says that the very few agents that they did have were not paid a lot, “$1,200-$2,800” and that this little amount of money that they earned was not enough for them to refuse bribes from gangsters. Also in source K, which is a quote from Al Capone in 1930, it tells us of the constant “popular demand for alcohol and that gangsters like Al Capone would still supply it to the masses. He said, “You can’t cure this thirst by law. ” Meaning prohibition will not stop people from drinking.

Another reason that it did not come about was that people did not support prohibition. Illegal liquor stores “speakeasies” were set up and did very well, selling a homemade alcohol called moonshine. This shows that alcohol was still very much in demand. Source I is a quote from a ‘New York music composer’ speaking in the 1950s saying that he “Loved speakeasies” he saw them as being exciting and ‘romantic’. He says that they had a “movie-like quality” also he saw prohibition as something to unite people. He goes on to say, “You were a special person, you belonged to a special society.

This source tells us that public attitudes towards prohibition were good. It tells how he thought it was ‘romantic’. This source is quite useful and relatively trustworthy as the composer being quoted was around at the time and he lived through it and tells his feelings and what he thought the public’s opinions were. However, it is just one man’s opinion so it cannot be totally reliable. Source J is from a book written by a “US journalist in 1931”, it tells about Al Capone and how he discovered that there was ‘big money’ in the ‘outlawed liquor business’ and of how he ‘controlled’ the dispensation of ‘booze’ to Chicago.

This source tells us that the public was very much against prohibition because of how successful Al Capone was. His success was founded on the publics’ demand for alcohol. This source is extremely useful as the writer was also around at the time and it shows that Al Capone profited well from the people’s want of alcohol. Source L is a ‘photograph of Al Capone on the front cover of Time… in the 1930s’. In this picture Capone looks like a happy man, he’s smiling and looking altogether the businessman.

The fact that Al Capone is on the front cover of a well-respected magazine showing that the public thought of him as a hero. This also shows that the public opinion towards prohibition was negative. Being from the time of prohibition shows this to be a trustworthy source. In source N, a speech by ‘President Roosevelt’ we are shown that the publics’ attitudes against prohibition were still strong. Because the speech is the president announcing the ‘repeal’ of the ‘eighteenth amendment in 1933’. In his speech he says, “I think this would be a good time for a beer. The fact that a non-prohibition president was voted into office shows that the overwhelming majority of the American public was against prohibition. In order for the prohibition to end an amendment to the constitution needed to be made. To do this there must be a two to one majority in favour from the President, Congress and the Senate. The fact that all of this did actually take place proves that this source is extremely reliable. Al Capone was viewed by the authorities in the US as ‘public enemy number one’.

There are many sources that endorse this but there are also sources that do not. I am able to use my knowledge to do both of these things. The sources that tell us that was indeed ‘public enemy number one are, A, M, F, G, H and J. Source A tells us this by the image on a poster of a man spending all of his wages on alcohol, the poster also illustrates the man’s family going without food in order fore the man to be able to buy ‘booze’. This is reinforcing the need for the banning of alcohol to allow men to provide adequately for their families.

As it was al Capone who was supplying the alcohol it says how evil he is and is justifying the label of ‘public enemy number one. Source G being a list of drunk and disorderly offences tells us that Al Capone was ‘public enemy number one’. It tells us how the offences went up and as Capone was the supplier to the public of the alcohol it again reinforces the opinion that he was indeed the one to take the blame for these offences. Source H tells us that Capone was ‘public enemy number one’ because it a piece of text telling us that people were prepared to break the law in order to get hold of alcohol.

They were hiding bootleg liquor in the most unusual places, perfume bottles, hot-water bottles etc. Again as Capone ran the bootleg liquor industry in the eyes of the police he was considered to be ‘public enemy number one’. Source J tells us of how Capone was making the alcohol. Selling it and transporting it, which were all against the law. Again supporting the claim of him being ‘public enemy number one’. The sources that tell us that Capone was not ‘public enemy number one are L, K and I. Source L tells us that Capone was quite the opposite of his ‘police given label’.

This is the photo of him on the front of Time magazine showing him to be a respectable businessman smiling and looking nothing like a criminal. With Time being a reputable magazine this shows the public see him not a their enemy but as their hero. Source I is the piece of text from a man who was around at the time telling us how much that he loved to frequent ‘speakeasies’ along with a lot of people that he knew. How these places brought people together in a special sort of way. Again disputing the fact that Capone was the publics’ enemy.

Had it not been for the ‘illegal speakeasies’ that bootlegging supplied the alcohol for those ‘magical’ times would not have taken place. Source K tells us that Capone was not ‘public enemy number one’ because it is a quote from Capone himself saying how he was just giving the people what they wanted which shows that he was not their enemy but their friend. I have discovered how Capone would buy politicians, pay for the police to turn a blind eye to his activities and intimidate witnesses to any of his illegal operations.

Also I have found that he was involved in gang warfare in Chicago with other crime syndicates involved in selling illegal liquor and those trying to ‘muscle in’ on his ‘territory’. He would pay hospital bills for those that he had harmed in order for them not to talk to the authorities. Some people would think that this was a generous gesture and believed it to be the actions of a good man. I have found out that he would give tips to people at the racecourse.

This endeared him to those who won and made people believe that he was one of them because he would be ‘mixing’ with them. But my main reason for saying that Al Capone was not ‘public enemy number one’ is that the public wanted alcohol and he was the man who was supplying it to them. So by giving the public what they wanted how could he possibly be their enemy? However I can see how in the eyes of the law he could have been seen as public enemy no1 because of the criminal acts that he committed and instigated like GBH, intimation, bribing government officials and even murder.

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