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Prohibition And Mafia - With A Free Essay Review



Since the very moment the concept of the “Noble Experiment” was introduced, prohibition created an uproar that very much so influenced the twenties. The Prohibition Movement also known as the Temperance Movement strictly wanted to ban the use, sale and distribution of alcohol. Pushing for this change in everyday American life were Christian women, who eventually created the Women’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU). Around the year of 1911, the WCTU had already gained a new peak of 250,000 members. From such a vast support group, prohibition was enforced in almost every state by the early twentieth century. This eventually led to the Eighteenth Amendment being ratified by congress.

On January 16th, 1920, the ban of production and manufacture of alcohol was in effect because of this new amendment. Furthermore adding to the restrictions was the Volstead Act, passed by congress, which made it illegal to possess a device that created alcohol and set jail terms to anybody who violated it. Since the demand for alcohol was so common for the people of this time period, action was taken and people would not stop to try to find any loophole that would allow them to have their drinks. Congress assigned the US Treasury Department to try and force these laws upon civilians, but the majority of society showed that they could care less. The strong desire of alcohol was a huge factor in city life and as a result, secret bars called “SpeakEasies” were created. NYC was known as the hub for these saloons holding over 32,000 of them.

Prohibition often led to bootlegging, which was the illegal distribution of alcohol. Since the want of alcohol was so intense during these days, organized crime was a very prominent issue. Bringing liquors from Canada and the Caribbean and smuggling them into the US became a billion dollar business for gangsters of the twenties. This is how the rise of the mafias came to be running illegal business and fighting for power. Most Mafia Heads had enough power and money to influence cops to be on their sides. One of the most well known gangsters and the most powerful during this time period was Al Capone. His illegal business and his story influenced millions of gang leaders around the nation.

Alphonsus Capone is known as the greatest American Gangster of all time. His organized crime business was as successful as it was because he took every opportunity to take advantage of Prohibition knowing that was what the people truly wanted. Coming into power was very easy for Capone because of his charming and charitable attitude. He created an empire of organized distribution of alcohol and made billions of dollars off of it. Al thus became so powerful and rich that he inevitably influenced cops and judges to look the other way about his business. His business was run mainly for the people and Capone was no stranger to them. He would give back to the poor and help out people he knew, making him more popular and favorable to the people. All of his actions were strategically planned to make him an unstoppable Crime Boss. He made it seem like he was working for the better of society and his story can be compared to that of Robin Hood. Although he helped out everyday civilians doesn’t mean that he was always liked. Other crime bosses would try to have him murdered in competition for their own power and success. Many policemen would try to have him arrested but he was still too powerful. This all changed one day when Eliot Ness was hired. Ness and his special task force called the “Untouchables” led an investigation that ultimately led to Capone’s downfall.

In the end Ness got Capone sent to trial and the judge was not in favor of him this time. Al was charged with 22 counts of tax evasion and over 5,000 violations of the Volstead Act. After several years, the great Al Capone was brought to justice. His story influenced many gangsters to try to lead the life he lived and many movies such as Scarface and The Godfather were based off of him. After his incarceration, the days of bootlegging and speakeasies were never the same. Capone was a great influence of keeping these industries and places alive.

On December 9th, 1933, alcohol distribution and consumption was once again legal thanks to the 21st amendment. This was the first time in US history where the constitution was repealed, cancelling the 18th amendment. The 1920’s can greatly be defined by Prohibition since it was such a great issue and many movies, plays and novels are based off of it. If it weren’t for prohibition in the first place, there would be no mafia or organized crime in the first place. The twenties shaped the future for the US and many old morals were broken during this time. Alcohol soon became a part of everyday life, and many new ideas and morals arose from it. Many more modern people preferred having it as a means of celebration and the start of alcohol industries were created as of the repeal of the Eighteenth Amendment.

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ESSAY REVIEW

The essay seems to lack a purpose beyond that of articulating a number of factual claims associated with two issues: Prohibition and Al Capone. While these issues are obviously related, as many of your factual claims make clear, if the essay is content only to list certain historical facts, then it runs the risk of appearing like two separate essays stuck together, rather than a single, coherent essay with a single purpose. You need to give your reader a reason to read your essay instead of reading a couple of Wikipedia pages.

So I think the first step towards revision here is to decide whether you want this to be an essay about Prohibition or an essay about Al Capone. Of course an essay about either one can and perhaps should refer to the other, but it ought in the first place to be about one thing. If you want the essay to be about Al Capone, then begin by writing about Al Capone, and in the course of discussing the significance of his sorry existence, you can explain the importance of Prohibition to his rise to power. The point of the references to Prohibition in that case would not be to inform the reader about Prohibition itself but to inform the reader about how Prohibition made the reign of Al Capone as a mafia boss possible. If, however, the essay is about Prohibition, then the reference to Al Capone should be used only to illustrate the consequences for American society of Prohibition.

Whatever you decide, I think your essay would also benefit from having an argument, which in the current draft, at least until the final paragraph, it lacks. In that final paragraph, you claim that the mafia or organized crime would not have existed without Prohibition. That’s a potential argument, but it is not one that you defend in your essay. Doing so would be one sure way to give your essay a purpose. So if you have actual reasons for believing what you say there, you should articulate them. Certainly the claim is arguable. I suspect some historians might be inclined to disagree with you, if only because there were so many other illegal activities (gambling, prostitution, drugs) aside from the production and sale of alcohol from which mafia organizations have profited. Can you explain why you think that Prohibition was so much more important than the criminalization of other vices in enabling the emergence of organized crime in the United States?

Best, EJ.
Submitted by: jsarz24
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