Historical Perspective Historical Perspective Icon

To get a fuller understanding of an issue, you'll need to go beyond an analysis of specific points made during the congressional debate. How would an historian look at a past issue like Prohibition? What would he seek to understand? What questions would he ask? Listen to some thoughts of Prof. Jim Madison of the Indiana University Department of History as he discusses primary sources and perspective, context, meaning and significance.

After viewing the video, answer a few questions below:
What were some of the perspectives on Prohibition different from Rep. Webb's that were mentioned by Professor Madison? How can you find multiple perspectives on an issue like this when you are presented just one side?
What did Professor Madison say about other events at that time that had an impact on the debate on Prohibition? How can you learn about the broader context of past issues like this?
Is there anything we can learn from this debate of almost 100 years ago that could be applied to debates today that deal with the enduring issue of government involvement in our personal lives?