The Dark Side of Drink: Supporting Prohibition for Family Welfare

Categories: Prohibition

The first source has several annotations that help the observer to understand the circumstances and this helps them to understand what is going on behind the scenes of the saloons and the men that drink in them. The poster has a heading that is ironic and it implies that all the members of the so called club are poor yet they can afford it although it is very expensive for them and their families and not suited for these types o men.

All the men pictured are happy and jolly which means that drink makes them happy, so if drink was taken away and prohibition was enforced the happy atmosphere would be taken away, so this could be a cause against prohibition. But the poster has so many other things that make us think the artist was very much for prohibition. To start all the men seem to be drinking vast amounts of alcohol which will inevitably lead to rowdiness and maybe even violence.

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But all this is fuelled by the men themselves, they work hard all day and then come to the saloons where all the hard work gets drained away quite selfishly.

In the poster the man is passing over a large amount of money with the label 'Weeks Wages', this is poor behaviour as at home out of the saloon the atmosphere is depressive as the family try to get by on what they can, but it is very hard when their income is being wasted at the saloons.

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This all isn't helped by the barman who has absolutely no regard for the customers and just sees the men as walking pay packets. But the barman can't really be blamed as he is only running a business and paying his way.

The poster was published before prohibition so it would be warning the public of the many dangers of drink socially and economically which means it is for prohibition. The second source hasn't got as many visual aids but it has a big impact as we see children sad and dressed in dirty ragged clothes. The annotation is hard hitting also and it sends obvious messages to the that the artist was very much against prohibition. This poster was published just before prohibition when America's supporters were gearing up for the big push to enforce national prohibition.

The scene of the children makes the observer feel sorry for them and in turn want to do something about it. This poster was probably published by either the Anti-saloon League or the WCTU. This is because they were the main two groups who strongly supported prohibition and set out to turn America against alcohol. The children are alone outside the saloon but they are restricted to go in, they want to go in though because all their money, food and clothes are in there. The children don't understand what their father is doing because all they see is him walk in with all their needs and walk out with absolutely nothing.

The scene is also sad because the annotation says that all the children's needs, food and stocking are in the saloon but they will never come out. This means the father walks in with money but never brings it out but this could be solved by enforcing prohibition. The two sources are obviously for prohibition as they both show scenes of a sad and depressive atmosphere in the home or outside the saloons and speakeasies, this is then shown to be caused by the father who is at the saloons and bars shown to be spending the family's money without regard for them.

Updated: Nov 30, 2023

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The Dark Side of Drink: Supporting Prohibition for Family Welfare. (2020, Jun 02). Retrieved from

The Dark Side of Drink: Supporting Prohibition for Family Welfare essay
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