Assess the View That National Prohibition

Topics: Prohibition in the United States, Alcoholic beverage, Crime Pages: 3 (1102 words) Published: February 24, 2011
Emily Tracey

Assess the view that the policy of National Prohibition (1919-1933) created more problems than it solved.

Prohibition introduced to America in the January of 1919, then passed through the Volstead Act in the January of 1920, prohibited the consumption of alcohol that contained more than 0.5 per cent, unless given by health care professionals as medication. It was believed by some that the banning of alcohol would help to improve the lives of American people. It was hoped that public spending on alcohol would be cut and the crime rate would be lowered. However, there is the argument to whether National Prohibition did actually solve any of these problems. Historians such as Michael Woodwiss believe that prohibition actually caused more problems than it solved and made the situation in America worse. On the other hand historians such as Norman H. Clark believe that prohibition brought about good change to American society. Historians Michael Woodwiss and David E. Kyvig both support the argument that prohibition created more problems than it solved. Michael Woodwiss describes how crime in America increased in this particular period and how corrupt groups made the law practically impossible to enforce. David E. Kyvig believed that prohibition did not stop the people of America from consuming alcohol and that it saw a rise of gangs in the big northern cities. The main aim of introducing prohibition was to stop people drinking, but really the consumption of alcohol grew in this time. In 1919 0.8 gallons of alcoholic beverages were consumed whereas in 1925, five years after the act had come in to place, the number of gallons had risen to 1.25[1]. This shows that people were still willing and wanting to drink alcohol even though it was illegal under the law. People were not just consuming the alcohol leisurely, but in the big cities especially drunken arrests hit the roof. In 1925 in Boston there were 37944 arrests for drunk and disorderly, and...
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