‘Prohibition’s successes outweighed its failures in the years 1920–33.’ How far do you agree with this view?

1144 Words Jun 10th, 2014 5 Pages
The prohibition era was the period in the US when the manufacture, sale and transportation of liquor were banned. To completely eliminate alcohol from society was always going to be an impossible task due to the limited amounts of prohibition officers and the easy manner in which illegal alcohol could be made and old, so in that aspect of its ambition it failed. However it was able to reduce alcoholism, and as a result of prohibition fewer arrests for drunkenness were recorded. With those thoughts in mind, it is important to remember that whist some positives came from Prohibition, the negatives that came from the policy were far greater and more significant, so therefore it becomes nigh on impossible to call it a success.
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The fact that there was a significant lack of enforcement agents with just 3000 officers expected to cover the entire country, meant that the illegal supply of alcohol would remain rife with very limited interference. These agents were also only paid 2500 dollars, whereas bootleggers, moonshiners, gangsters, speakeasy owners often paid them double to look the other way. This ultimately meant that Prohibition had basically surrendered the supply of alcohol to criminals and in particular, gangsters.
The new law also acted as a great stimulus for the illegal manufacture of alcohol (‘moonshine’). Many of these drinks were of poor quality and had some dangerous side effects, such as blindness, internal bleeding and even death with over 30 reported deaths in New York in 1924 because of illegally manufactured alcohol. Due to the demand being so high, prices of alcohol beverages increased, and thus gangsters garnered interest as they appreciated the amount of money that could be made. Gangsters and Al Capone began to establish monopolies in the manufacture and sale of alcohol. Not only could gangsters control alcohol supply, but they also gained political influence, for example, the Mayor of Chicago, Bill Thompson received heavy bribery and intimidation from gangsters, and thus he allowed gangsters to function as normal without interference in his city. Naturally as consumption increased, arrests for drunkenness and drunk driving

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