Prohibition led to the bootlegging of liquor and the gang wars of the 1920’s. The most notorious gangster of all time, known as Al Capone, was the most powerful mob leader of his era. He dominated organized crime in the Chicago area from 1925 until 1931. Capone grew up during the roaring 20s in Chicago. He joined the James Street gang, lead by Johnny Torrio. In 1920, Torrio asked Capone to move to Chicago and work with his uncle who controlled the city’s largest prostitution and gambling ring at the time. Capone had liked that idea. Later that year the Prohibition act came into affect and Capone became interested in selling illegal whiskey and other alcoholic beverages. Al Capone was America's best known gangster and greatest symbol of destruction of law and order in the United States during the Prohibition era because of his leading role in the illegal activities which gave Chicago its reputation as a lawless city.
Capone’s network came through Torrio’s business. Capone and Torrio took over his uncles business after his uncle died (Haller, 358). Torrio’s uncle did not agree with Capone’s idea in the first place. His uncle was shot by his rival, which gave the business to Torrio. They both created the selling of illegal alcohol in the city of Chicago (Haller 359). This impacted the U.S. because it gave many men and women beverages for their needs. Capone developed contacts to obtain imported liquor from Detroit, New York, and Miami (Haller 360). These purchases gave Capone power and wealth because he sold alcohol all over Chicago. After Torrio was shot and almost killed by a rival gang, he retired from the underworld, which left Capone to run the organization alone (World Biography). Now Capone was on the top of his organization and at the age of 26, he was managing more than 1,000 employees, which included a payroll of more than $300,000 a week (World Biography). Capone demanded loyalty from all of his employees. During this time Capone became so rich he gave out free food for Chicago’s unemployed which made him look like a good influence.
Unemployed people did not care that the money he gave them was made illegally, to them money was money. Capone also supplied booze to the poor. “Even though bootlegging was illegal at this point in time, if you got people alcohol, you were respected by the community”(Kobler). People were in the depres...
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...January 21, 1947, he had an apoplectic stoke that was probably unrelated to his syphilis” (Al Capone). He regained consciousness and began to improve until pneumonia hit Capone on January 24. He died the next day from cardiac arrest. Capone was first buried in Mount Olivet Cemetery in Chicago's far South Side next to the graves of his father, and brother. In March of 1950 all three were moved to Mount Carmel Cemetery on the far West Side. That is why Al Capone was known as America’s best known gangster in the prohibition era.
Bergreen, Laurence. The Man and the Era. Simon and Schuster Trade, New York. July
Haller, Mark. American National Biography, Oxford University Press. New York
Hornung, Rick. Al Capone. Random House Value Publish. Staff Incorporated
Kobler, John. Capone: The Life and World of Al Capone. G.P. Putnam’s Sons. New
York, New York. 1992
Encyclopedia of World Biography. Al Capone. 2nd ed. Volume 17. Gale Research.
Thomson Corporation Company. 1998
American Decades CD – ROM. Al Capone. Gale Research. Gale Group, Thomson
Corporation Company. 1998
Al Capone. http://www.chicagohs.org/ (25, Mar. 2001)
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