Organized Crime In The 1920's Essay

1077 words - 4 pages

Organized crime flourished during the 1920's. This was largely due to prohibition. There was a number a people that particularly stood out during this time as mob figures.Alphonse Capone is one of the greatest mob figures ever known in the United States. He represents organized crime in the 1920's and would be a crime of its own to not mention him when talking about crime in the 1920's. Some of his nicknames were "Big Al", "Snorky", and "Scareface". He was born Jan 17 1899 in Brooklyn, NY. Al joined the Five Points Gang, which was run by Johnny Torrio at a young age in 1915. After a while there was some tension between Johnny, Capone and other members of the gang because it seemed like everyone except Johnny saw the importance of taking advantage of prohibition. Although it was never proven, it was rumored that Capone himself took place in the murder (Kelly 47-48). When Big Al finally rose to the top, he had the support of most of the American people because of prohibition.During the 1920's, prohibition not only caused people to disregard the 18th amendment but also many other laws. Most people didn't really respect the law; even many of the people in the police force were corrupt. The police often worked hand in hand with the criminals; they would tip the criminals on raids, fix trials, and ignore general criminal activity. The Police were often bribed and if that didn't work then they would be killed (Kelly 245). During the 1920's, there were a few people that were almost above the law. This made people like Big Al very rich. Alphonse Capone's business made around $105 million in 1927 when he was just 28 years old (La Cosa Nostra).One of the most well known gangs is the Mafia. The Mafia or "mob" was very powerful during prohibition and still operates today, but not with nearly the strength it used to have. It originated in Italy as an organization to protect plantation owners. They would often extort the people in the towns during the 1800's. When Mussolini came to power in Italy, he launched a campaign against the mob, which caused the largest Mafiosi (which is a member of the mafia) migration in history. Over five hundred Sicilian Mafiosi migrated to the US. They brought with them their mindset on how to make money. They joined in with what many of the other gangs like the Black Hand had already established; extortion, prostitution, and gambling. As soon as prohibition came about it was a whole new ball game (La Cosa Nostra).The 18th Amendment or also known as the Volstead Act outlawed of the manufacture, distribution, and sale of alcohol. This gave gangs more power than they had ever had before. The 18th Amendment was passed because there were a few groups that thought of being drunk as a sin. It first went into effect in 1920 (Kelly 245). Alcohol was distributed to the public mostly through speakeasies, which were underground bars during this time. Because of all of the corruption within the police, the speakeasies could usually run...

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