Prohibition Within Gangsterism

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by LKomar
Last updated 8 years ago

Social Studies
American History

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Prohibition Within Gangsterism

The 1920’s were an uprooting of the old-fashioned American lifestyle, with the common conventions of living completely changing, and new priorities amongst the society. During the time period, people were loosely spending their money on new experiences, as well new indulgences. The biggest of all, newly outlawed alcohol. There became such a demand for alcohol as it had just previously been legal, and this was brought to the attentions of the head Mobsters of the time, especially one named Al Capone. One thing led to another, and soon enough bootlegging illegal alcohol became the new focus of Gangsters, with an acceptance of this illegal bootlegging from the common public.

Decline in OrderWith an increase in illegal activities, and a general public contempt with notorious gangsters performing such activities, these gangsters started having more power than ever before. The main problem with this, they started taking over sections of the police in certain cities, and a decline in safety for the public had begun. As the general public liked the fact that these gangsters could get them the things which were illegal in the eyes of the government, they never defied them. This just led to the gangsters taking more control of the cities, and more control of the local economies. Their control became so extensive, that at one point, head mobster Al Capone had complete control of the Chicago Police, and had been using them to help with his biddings. The city was no longer safe from dangerous criminals, and rival gangs could go about their activities without repercussions.

St. Valentine’s Day Massacre One of the bloodiest incidents this lack of police allowed Capone to perform was later known as the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, a day of seven consecutive executions of a rival gang. Capone had had many shipments of booze recently being hijacked by a competitor, as well assassination attempts at varied men in high ranks of his outfit, and figured it was time to strike back. He thusly had men stationed in buildings across from the competitor’s headquarters, and had them stake out the building. On the morning of the chosen attack day, he had a group of his gunmen disguised as faux Chicago Police raid the building and line up the men inside against a wall, where they then signaled their accomplices to come in and execute all seven men with shotguns and machine guns. A picture of the assassinations was later leaked to the public, which shocked and scared them further, and revealed how powerful the gangsters actually became.

Historical SignificanceThe way gangsters of the time period manipulated the laws of the government during a time of great exploration gives a clear image of what was really important to the general public at the time. With such a desire for alcohol, gangsters became criminal businessmen in the pursuit to provide this at a profitable rate to the public. This importance of alcohol stimulated an economy that had been damaged by the war years before, but as well provided to be a source of extensive crime between rival gangs trying to make the most money. Some gangs even solely focused on the sale and distribution of alcohol, centralizing the organization around one focal point which increased the importance of alcohol even further in society. With countless organizations trying to reap the rewards associated with prohibition, it is quite clear that alcohol could have simply been the biggest focus of gangsters in the 1920’s.

Al Capone (Above)

St. Valentine's Day Massacre

Luke Komar

Prohibition Within Gangsterism


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