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Sources And Their Support That The Failure Of Prohibition Was Inevitable

2284 words - 9 pages

Sources and their Support that the Failure of Prohibition was Inevitable

In 1920, Prohibition came into effect across the United States. The
making, selling and transporting of alcohol were banned. Thousands of
illegal stills and millions of gallons of wine and spirits were
destroyed. Prohibition also however led to vast increases in crime. In
1933, prohibition was brought to an end nationally although a few
states still continued with their own ban on alcohol. However, was the
failure of prohibition inevitable? Could it have succeeded?

There are sources that suggest that Prohibition could have succeeded.
Source A was written 40 years after the end of Prohibition and
therefore the author will have access to a wide range of evidence as
to whether Prohibition could have succeeded and why it failed. It is
also from an American history book and so should be reliable. It says
that “by 1917, twenty-three states had already introduced a ban on
alcohol.” Before Prohibition had even been introduce nationally, half
the states had already introduced a ban on alcohol showing that there
was enthusiasm towards Prohibition, source A also talks about the
“wartime concern for preserving grain for food” and this was “at a
time when large numbers of men were absent in the armed forces.” Due
to the fact that there was a war going on in 1917, the time was right
for Prohibition to be introduced, however it wasn’t until 1920 that
prohibition was introduced and by that time the war had ended and
there was no need to preserve grain for food. Therefore if prohibition
was introduced earlier and while the war was still going on, it could
have succeeded because there would have been a need to preserve grain
during the war. Source A also talks about the “influence of the
anti-saloon league” and so shows that there was public support and the
anti-saloon league influenced the decision to introduce Prohibition,
however again by the time the war was over, the public support would
be less than it was during the war because there was no longer need to
preserve grain for food.

Source B was written in 1979, again over 40 years after the end of
prohibition, so, just like source A the author would have access to a
range of evidence and with the benefit of hindsight should give an
accurate overview. Source B is also from an American History book and
so again should be reliable. Source B also talks about “anti-saloon
league” saying that “the anti-saloon league brought pressure on
Congress to ban the use of grain” showing again that the anti-saloon
league did affect the decision however this was during the war and
obviously there was a lot of public support otherwise it would never
have been introduced. Therefore prohibition could have succeeded, if
only it was introduced earlier, there would still be public support.


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