Rise of Crime in the 1920's Essay

Rise of Crime in the 1920's Essay

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The 1920s are usually characterized as a time of care-free, social rebellion against the restricting ideals of the post WWI world, but it has a darker side than this. Prisons populations and crime rates rose to an all time high from where they were pre-Prohibition. Gangsters soon became the richest, most powerful men in the country and all due to the bootlegging of liquor. In New York and Chicago especially, the gangs were as diverse as the people living there, all fighting to control their areas, causing insane amounts of violence and death. Although Prohibition's aim was to decrease drunkenness and crime, it would ultimately cause more harm than good with the emergence of speakeasies which kept people drunk and gangs who increased crime rates. Ultimetley Prohibition, also known as the “Nobel Experiment”, was a law that neither rid the US of crime or liquor; one could even argue it worsened these two factors of American society.
As World War I ended people began to bring their attentions back to the domestic issues of the United States, specifically drunkenness. The average person in 1910 was consuming about 1.6 gallons of alcohol, which led to everything from general drunkenness to abuse within families and this was not a new problem either; since the mid 1800s temperance movements had been popping up across the United States. These temperance movements were more within small towns though and had little to no effect on big cities, but were becoming increasingly popular expecially with religious groups, who believed drinking led to sinful behavior and with women, mostly of whom were abused by their drunk husbands (Brown, 704). As mentioned above with alcohol related crime and death rate at a high and temperance movements being p...


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... wants at any cost, including murder and illegal activites like bootlegging, it would do little to help crime rates and drunkenness. These were both Prohibition's aims and it did little to accomplish either which is why Prohibition was ultimetely so unsuccessful; not only because it increased crime rates, but because of the opposite effect it had on society from what it had intented and that in itself made Prohibition a failure.


Works Cited

Brown, L. Ames. "Prohibition." JSTOR. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Apr. 2014.
"Prohibition." Britannica's Original Sources. Encyclopaedia Britannica, n.d. Web. 8 Apr. 2014.
"Organized Crime and Prohibition." Organized Crime and Prohibition. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Apr. 2014.
"crime." American History. ABC-CLIO, 2014. Web. 10 Apr. 2014.
"Liquor Law Violations." Trenton Evening Times 11 Dec. 1920: n. pag. Newsbank Databases. Web. 9 Apr. 2014.

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