The Worst of Times

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Discipline:
Social Studies
Subject:
American History
Grade:
8

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The Worst of Times

The Worst of Times

SpeakeasiesSpeakeasies were a place where one could drink alcohol with friends and have fun without worrying about having to get caught. They were hidden in secret places where authorities would least suspect them to be. People were willing to spend their free time drinking in safe places. People who owned speakeasies were able to make a lot of money because men who were desperate for alcohol were willing to pay fortunes that sellers charged. Blacks and whites would drink together at speakeasies while prohibition was in place, most speakeasies even had a secret code that was required to enter. During the 1920's while Prohibition was in place speakeasies were more popular than legal bars were before the banning of alcohol. A member of Congress during this time estimated that there was nearly 100,000 speakeasies in New York City alone. Clearly, speakeasies were extremely popular and important to people during the time of Prohibition.

KKKThe Ku Klux Klan, also known as the KKK was an anti-Catholic and anti-Semitic group who showed immense hatred toward blacks, Jews, Catholics, and immigrants. While the Ku Klux Klan was founded in the 1800's it died down and it wasn't until the 1920's that it began to rise again. Over four million people were part of this horrible organization. The KKK would hold rallies and protests and sometimes use violence such as lynching to get their message out. Lynching was when one was put to death by hanging; usually a hate group such as the KKK would perform such an act. Also, this organization began to take over several state governments in the 1920's. Unfortunately, the Ku Klux Klan believed only white protestants belong here on Earth during the "roaring twenties."

BootleggingBootlegging is to make, sell, or transport something illegally or without registration or paying taxes. This was also remarkably popular during the Prohibition Era. Criminals would illegally take alcohol from outside the U.S, mostly Canada and transport it to a location they felt was safe. Then he or she would sell the alcohol to people who were living where there was supposed to be no alcohol; this allowed the seller to charge more for the product because of the risk involved. One of the most famous bootleggers during the 1920's was Al Capone. In summation, bootlegging was a very risky and serpentine responsibility.

Rise of Organized CrimeDuring the time of Prohibition and the 1920's organized crime thrived. Congress thought banning alcohol would benefit Americans but little did they know it would do the complete opposite. Gangs fought over the illegal liquor business because their minds were set on making money. Powerful criminals would break the law and even murder people when it came to making money and having power. People like Al Capone were known as gangsters. Once a gang had enough power they began to "black mail" other criminals such as gamblers. For example Al Capone would approach a gambler and tell him to pay a fee to Capone or he would not be left alone by his gang and himself. As you can see criminals were highly active during the 1920's.

This is Al Capone who was one of the most famous gangsters of the 1920's.

This is the KKK marching in one of their parades in Washington D.C. in 1928.

This is an image of agents diposing liquor after raiding a speakeasy.

This is a member of the Crusaders which was an organization who opposed Prohibition holding up a poster.

ProhibitionProhibition was the suppression of selling alcohol; this law was authenticated by the 18th amendment in 1919. While the law only states that the distribution of alcohol is prohibited, people still legally drank. Women greatly supported this law because most women claimed that their husbands would come home drunk and unintentionally beat them. Some men would even spend their entire pay checks on alcohol; this eventually led to a family in poverty. The banning of distribution of alcohol allowed bootleggers to make millions illegally selling alcohol. Undoubtedly people found a way to avoid the 18th amendment; because this amendment was extremely difficult to enforce Congress then passed the 21st amendment after acknowledging it's failure throughout the "roaring twenties".

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By: Aiden C.


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