Prohibition was introduced in 1919. The aims of Prohibition were very explicit and they were that no alcohol should be consumed or sold in the USA. This essay will set out to show that Prohibition did not accomplish its aims and therefore, was not successful.
I hope to prove this during the course of this essay that Prohibition was unsuccessful. Source G shows that the number of illegal stills seized in America increased rapidly between 1921 and 1929. In 1921 the number of illegal stills seized was 9,746, increasing to 12,023 in 1925 and further increasing to 15,749 in 1929.The story and the trend is the same with the gallons of spirits seized.
It went from 414,000 in 1921, increasing to 11,030,000 and increasing further to 11,860,00 in 1929. This was produced by the Federal gove...
rnment concerning the nation. At face value this shows that the police and the Federal government were doing their jobs well by seizing illegal alcohol. This shows that they were successful.
Source H shows that the number of drunks arrested increased between 1920 and 1925. In 1920, one year after the Volstead Act, there were 14,313 drunks, increasing to 45,226 in 1923 and further to 51,361 in 1925.It's the same trend with the drunk drivers. In 1920, there were 0, increasing to 645 in 1923 and further more to 820 in 1925. However there was a different trend with the drunk and disorderly conduct. In 1920 in was 6,097, increasing to 8,076 in 1923 and then going down to 5,522 in 1925.
This could be because people realised that if they acted disorderly then the police would know that the
were taking part in illegal activities. The City of Philadelphia published this Source. The statistics show that Prohibition was a success as the police had improved and become better and were catching more people.However, it also showed failure as more people were breaking the law. Both the sources show that Prohibition was successful as they show that the police were doing their jobs better by arresting.
There was a trend of this that every year the number of arrests made increased. This shows that they did what they promised and that was to try and stop the country drinking alcohol. Source G was steadily increasing, such as in 1921, there were 9,746 illegal stills seized, which increased to 12,023 in 1925, and then later increased to 15,794 in 1929.This shows that the police were doing their job as more people were being caught. These are actual figures produced by the Federal Government. This shows a success as Prohibition is being enforced with effect.
Source H also increases, but this shows people being caught committing drunk-related offences. This could show that the police were successfully enforcing Prohibition. However, it could also show that more people are committing crime, as there are more drunk-related offences.In Source H, these statistics could have just been typical for one police force and not others, as Philadelphia could have been a city where Prohibition was just simply not working. Therefore, this statistic could have been reflection one part of Prohibition, not all. It is fair to conclude that as the new law increased crime, so did the police action.
However, Source G may not have been as conclusive as that at
face value. This could be the case because one needs to know other things in order to make a conclusion as to whether this source is reliable.The additional information that is required is how many illegal stills or gallons of spirits were there in the country at the time. Without this there cannot be a conclusion made because if there were a million illegal stills and only 15,749 were seized in 1929, then the police did not do well, but if there were only 20,000 stills in the country then the police would have done well.
However, this information will never be known as nobody kept a record of it as it was an illegal activity, but from my own knowledge, I know that there was a lot of illegal alcohol in the country, far more than the police seized.This is the same case with source H, because no one knows what the total population of Philadelphia was at the time or if Philadelphia was a good or bad state as far as Prohibition goes. Other reasons for inaccuracies in the sources could be the fact that in both sources the figures could have been tampered with in order to make them look good to the people or government officials to show that the Prohibition commissioners and the police were doing their jobs well.Also, the statistics taken for Source G could have been taken mainly from places that were not complying with Prohibition laws, so this would not be a true national reflection. The statistics in both Sources only tell us about police action rather than the rise in crime and so, it would be
impossible to try to work out a percentage of how many people were caught drunk.
This is because there are no actual figures of how many people were drunk altogether in the first place. Both sources can be interpreted in a different way.Instead of the police doing a better job it could just be the fact that the alcohol in the country was ever increasing. Therefore this would mean that Prohibition was not successful because the police did not decrease the amount of alcohol in the country. These statistics could also be interpreted as the opposite from what they first appeared. These statistics were originally written for the government, showing the progress of Prohibition.
On the sources it doesn't show where they got the information from. However, one can make the assumption that the information was given by the police force.From these points it shows that it is impossible to say whether Prohibition was a success or not solely from these sources. These sources could show that there was more police action, which would have meant Kramer was correct in his speech, or that there were more criminals, which would have meant Prohibition was failing. These sources could be interpreted either way.
This is because firstly, additional information is needed in order to paint a clearer picture of the state and depth of the problems. Also, the fact that the figures could have been tampered with to make them look good makes the sources unreliable.On top of all that, the Prohibition officials were corrupt and therefore there cannot be an assumption that the figures are 100% accurate and therefore, there has to be room for
scepticism. This can be related to sources J and I because both the sources show that officials were corrupt. Source I shows all the influential officials and officers sticking their hands out behind their backs.
This shows that they are asking for bribes. Source J also shows corruption because it shows that there was a conspiracy involving senior officials. It says 'It was a conspiracy and my superior officers were involved in it'.It also shows that officers were receiving bribes. It says 'I opened it and there was $75 in it'. All this means that nobody can tell, solely from looking at these sources, how reliable these sources were, as corruption may have caused the statistics to be changed.
In conclusion, I feel that these sources cannot prove that Prohibition was a success. It does show that the police were doing a better job, but without additional information one cannot make a conclusion and therefore, cannot say whether or not the sources prove that Prohibition was successful or not.The other additional information that is needed is the fact of how much alcohol was actually made in the country. Also, other information that is needed is for source H, as no one knows what sort of Prohibition record Philadelphia had.
They could have been the worst state for Prohibition or they could have been the best. So, without this additional information, nothing can be proven and therefore, there can be no conclusion reached as to the success of Prohibition in America.
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