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Organized Crime During The Roaring Twenties

1435 words - 6 pages

The 1920's, or the Roaring Twenties as this epoch is often referred to as, was a major turning point in America history. During this time period many American citizens believed and even acted out of hedonism. This mindset of the general population and along with other dilemmas led to a stunning and rapid increase in the amount of organized crime. The sudden uproar of organized crime during the 1920's was caused mainly by prohibition that gave rise to many street gangs, all with one man at its helm, which caused a massive increase in police forces.
During the 1920's, the eighteenth amendment was enacted making the sale and consumption of alcohol illegal throughout the entire United States. This time period is referred to as the age of prohibition. Many people thought that Prohibition was an extraordinary idea that would be the answer to the nation's problems. Reverend Billy Sunday, a famous reverend at the time, stated, "The reign of tears is over... we will turn our prisons into factories and our jails into storehouses... Hell will forever be for rent,"(www.albany.edu). Although the sale of alcohol was illegal, many people still wanted to drink. This desire gave rise to many criminal organizations that would later specialize in the illegal act of bootlegging. These criminal organizations did not just stop at bootlegging. They soon realized the amount of money they could make so they quickly began to open their very own "businesses" for heinous criminal activities. These places where known as speakeasies and where created to better criminal organizations profits by illegally marketing alcohol. Along with the illegal marketing of alcohol, criminal organizations also opened houses of prostitution and began to participate in extremely dangerous gang wars. "Not only did the number of serious crimes increase, but crime became organized. Criminal groups organized around the steady source of income, ” (www.albany.edu).
One of the most notorious organized crime leaders of all time was a man by the name of Al Capone. Alphonsus Capone was born on January 17, 1899 in Brooklyn, New York. Capone was the fourth of nine children born to honest, hardworking parents that immigrated to America from Italy. The neighborhood in which he lived was very harsh. There were many street gangs that were comprised of young children, including the Brooklyn Rippers, the Five Point Juniors, and the Forty Thieves Juniors. This countless number of street gangs opened the door for Capone to begin his life of crime at a very young age. At fourteen, Capone got into an altercation with a teacher that hit him. Capone soon after dropped out of school and joined the Five Point Juniors, a gang that was the youth "division" of a major crime organization known as the Five Point gang. Capone became an apprentice for a crime leader by the name of Johnny Torrio. While under Torrio's wing, Capone quickly learned how he could use a clever mind, instead of brute violence to get ahead in the...

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