Lucky Luciano and John Gotti: Two Mafia Gangsters

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Lucky Luciano and John Gotti are two of the most polarizing and well-known figures of the US mafia over the past 100 years. Both men were the main man in their ‘families’ when they were alive. They were always in the news whether it was for their trials, or for things prosecutors said they committed. In this paper, I will try to see if the New York Times changed their language when referring to the mafia or mobsters in the time of Lucky Luciano between the 1930s and 1950s to more respectful or neutral terms in the time of John Gotti in the 1980s and 1990s. I will do this by looking at the newspaper articles from their lives and see if any of the language had changed over the 50-60 years. Luciano was the first new world gangster, he liked money more than old Sicilian rivalries, and he was the influence of many future mobsters including John Gotti. Both men lived very wealthy lives, with Luciano living in the Waldorf-Astoria and Gotti dining in elegant restaurants. Salvatore “Charles Lucky” Luciano was born on November 11, either in 1896 or 1897 as he contended at one of his trials, near Palmero, Sicily. He and his family migrated to the US when he was 9 years old (United Press International). Soon after coming here he dropped out of school and then got an “honest job” as a sales clerk. By this time he already had a reputation as a knife fighter and had served 6 months in jail for dealing opium. Once he was released, he joined the Five Points Gang (Walker 152). His criminal career “spurted when he became an associate of Giuseppe (Joe the Boss) Masseria, who headed the mafia” (United Press International). During his time as an associate he controlled brothels and a prohibition business that paid money to Masseria. Luciano always... ... middle of paper ... ... Apr. 2014 . May, Allan. "John Gotti, the Last Mafia Icon." Crime Library, Web. 05 May 2014. Selwyn Raab. "Gotti Accused of Role in Castellano Slaying." New York Times (1923- Current file): 2. Dec 13 1990. ProQuest. Web. 9 Apr. 2014 . Selwyn Raab. "Gotti and Fame: Dapper Folk Hero Or Ruthless Mob Boss?" New York Times (1923-Current file): 2. Feb 19 1990. ProQuest. Web. 9 Apr. 2014 Selwyn Raab with, Joseph A. "With Growing Reputation, Gotti's Swagger is Bolder." New York Times (1923-Current file): 2. Oct 22 1987. ProQuest. Web. 6 May 2014 . "U.S. Ends Narcotic Sales to Cuba while Luciano is Resident there." New York Times (1923-Current file) Feb 22 1947: 1. ProQuest. 9 Apr. 2014 Walker, Martin. "Lucky Luciano and the American Criminal." America Reborn: A Twentieth- Century Narrative in Twenty-Six Lives. New York: Knopf, 2000. 147-59. Print.

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