Source I is a cartoon drawn from the time of Prohibition. It shows a line of seven men in authority with their hands behind their backs. On their backs their role in society is said, these being (starting from far left) ‘Clerk’, ‘Magistrates, ‘Party Official’, ‘Politician’, ‘Police Officer’ and ‘Prohibition Agent’. The message from this cartoon is that of ‘The National Gesture’ this being that no matter what your role was in society, you did the same as the next person which was accepting bribes from landowners of Speakeasies.
The Law was corrupt. The leading men in society for example the Prohibition Agents who were there to enforce prohibition were lead to take no notice. In the picture, the men are facing forwards and hunched as if to imply that they wouldn’t want to be caught exchanging bribes as if they were embarrassed and ashamed. It’s as if they don’t want to see the real damage that is going on behind their backs. This is also proved by the fact that the men’s hands are waiting behind them waiting for their money.
All the men are lined up together symbolizing that they all believe in the same thing. Source J is a ‘Policeman talking about Chicago in the 1920’s’. In his report he is justifying that he tried not to take part in the illegal business of drinking alcoholic beverages. He is making himself seem very naive and innocent by saying things like ‘I took it and he was gone’ ‘I was sent’. He could be trying to make himself sound like this as his job could be at stake as he could be saying this after Prohibition had ended, he could also be trying to salvage his reputation.
The policeman is making himself seem responsible by trying to enforce the law, ‘If you tried to enforce the law they’d put you in a post where there was nothing but weeds’. He is trying to say that there was nothing he could do as he was being outnumbered and ‘disposed’ of almost. He makes himself seem like he was almost ‘bullied’ into drinking the alcoholic beverage as he says, ‘You couldn’t pay for anything and ‘the bottle was there and you were supposed to drink’. ‘Supposed to drink’ is as if it was without questioning. Saloon keepers would always welcome you’, this is said as if prohibition hadn’t even become law as it sounds very normal. He talks about the law highly and seems to have been for prohibition but ‘It was a conspiracy and my superior officers were involved in it’. He is implying that the law was so corrupt he might as well have been drinking as everyone was doing it. He means that he couldn’t have done his job correctly as his superior officers who were above him were involved so he couldn’t have made a change. Everybody is involved but not equally as the corruption is coming from above.
In conclusion, the policeman is Source J is proving that Source I is telling the truth as he explains how high people in society were involved in corruption. In his case his ‘superior officers’ who were one of the leading men in enforcing prohibition. A police man is the second most superior man in Source I. Although it seems as the policeman in source J is proving that source I is not lying, historians cannot be sure how accurate Source J is as he could be twisting what actually happened as to keep his status in society clean.