1. What can you learn from Source A about why the Anti-Saloon League opposed the sale of alcohol?
The Anti-Saloon League was a well-funded organisation that was supported by a mixture of religious and feminist groups, who wanted to prohibit alcohol. Source A is a powerful piece of propaganda, which immediately shows that the Anti-Saloon League disapproved of people drinking alcohol because of the effect it had on their home life and how it left the individuals penniless.
If also infers that all drinkers are addicts and ‘slaves of the saloon’, who cannot control their addictions. The ‘weeks wages’ attached to the bag of money suggests that drinkers hand over all their hard earned money to the jovial bartender whilst their families suffer in poverty at home, with out money for basic necessities like food or household equipment, and this is all because the male is a member of the Poor Man’s Club. The bartender is gleefully taking the man’s ‘dues’, not caring about the starving family at home, only his own financial gain.
In the poster, there is also evidence of other vices which men are attracted to and encouraged to take part in, whilst at the bar, like smoking and gambling as well as drinking. All of these vices would be a drain on the family income.
The text in the poster indicates how a drinker’s livelihood can suffer due to alcohol. The men who regularly attend the bars are called ‘slaves’ but are also portrayed as victims because of their reliance on alcohol ‘ruins their lives’. It also says that ‘there are 1 000 000 such slaves in the United States’, which gives the impression of a very large problem that covers the whole country. This problem would be made even larger if all of these members of the ‘Poor Man’s Club’ also had a family to support. The second paragraph of the text shows the way that the family is affected, and how the male is not being able to provide for his children. It seems that this has threatened his marriage with his wife and the stability of his whole family.
2. Is the message of Source C supported by the evidence of Sources D and E?
The message of Source C is clearly saying that although the United States introduced Prohibition they could not stop the American citizens from drinking, In the cartoon Uncle Sam is sweating and tired, obviously overwhelmed, and defeated by the devil. The devil – who signifies the American liquor trade – is continually pouring more alcohol onto the pile – which signifies America. Uncle Sam is struggling hard with only a small weapon against the devil, who is relentless. This cartoon shows how Prohibition was not working and was very hard to enforce.
The message of Source D very much supports Source C by saying that there were ‘only 2836’ Prohibition agents in the country. With only a small number of agents for such a large task, each of them could have been as overwhelmed by the situation as Uncle Sam in Source C. In Source D, the text explains that the agents were low paid and lacking in technical knowledge, they were also prime targets for corruption, which would mean that there would have be have been even less that 2836 agents who were committed to enforcing Prohibition, making the scale of the task much bigger.
The table in Source E gives evidence that the number of ‘drink related offences’ rose dramatically in the Prohibition years, which supports the message of Uncle Sam in Source C, which was that the authorities were swamped by the problem. The table cannot just be taken at face value though, because it does not just mean that people were getting drunk more often and committing more offences, it could also mean that the police were just catching more people who commit offences and prosecuting them. Either way the table still shows that people were not rushing to give up alcohol.