1920s Organized Crime This exhibit is focused on the “Roaring 20’s”, and what made the 1920s roar. The Roaring Twenties roared because of the vast amounts of spending, the crime, and people just having fun. Willie Sutton was an extravagant bank robber during the 1920s. Sutton was born on June 30, 1901 in Brooklyn, New York. Willie Sutton wasn’t a typical thug. He was instead described by those he encountered as polite and even a gentleman. During his forty-year robber career he stole an estimated two million dollars, and he eventually spent more than half of his adult life in prison and escaped three times.(“Willie Sutton.” Willie Sutton , FBI.). He was known for executing robberies in disguises, he gained two nicknames, "Willie the Actor"
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Like so many of his New York cronies, Costello escaped the poverty of immigrant life by running booze. He came to be the head of the 104th Street Gang, a young group of Italian hoodlums. At the end of Prohibition, he invested in gambling enterprises, earning millions from slot machines and casinos. Frant went to prison in 1915 for carrying a concealed weapon. After his release he allied himself up with Lucky Luciano the head of the Luciano crime family.
In the 1800’s an almost pure capitalist country was being controlled, bribed, and powered by Robber Barons which employed most of their population in an unmonitored economy. During the late 19th century these Robber Barons were in control of most citizen’s salary. In order to increase profits many factories paid their workers a decent wage so their employees could afford their products. That was the United States. Again a similar problem is arising.
The Shelton gang terrorized the area of Fairfield Il., in Wayne County, during the prohibition era. During the prohibition the Shelton’s got into bootlegging, gambling, prostitution, facts about the organization, and how it all ended in 1945. During the prohibition, they bootlegged their own moonshine and others all over Wayne County. While they were bootlegging and making alcohol, they made a lot of rivals with other bootleggers in the area. Beside just bootlegging they also had casinos for people to gamble at all over southern IL.
How were juvenile gangs formed in the 1920s? In the 1920s, Frederick Thrasher studied over 1,300 youth groups in Chicago and discovered that social, economic, and ecological factors in cities generate breaches in the usual fabric of society, allowing gangs to form. These organizations establish initially to meet needs such as play, enjoyment, and adventure, but if a confrontation with adult authority persists, the groups solidify and their activities become primarily criminal, leading to the formation of gangs. In places of high poverty and confrontation with adult authority, these groups solidify and become gangs.
The 1920’s was an interesting time in American history. This era was also known as the roaring twenties. Although it is remembered as a fond time before the Great Depression there was also a lot of conflicts arising, Cultural conflicts in particular were at the center. Prohibition and Immigration were two of the main cultural conflicts during this time period.
These people were major players in the American underworld. Most of these men made names for themselves by joining gangs in their youth. They would climb the ranks of their respective gangs and form a start-up of their own. These men were sought out by the police for the better part of their lives. They became some of the most infamous criminals of the 1920s, some of the most infamous criminals in history.
The 1920’s was an interesting, yet powerful era to live through. One major factor that took a part in the 1920’s was prohibition. Prohibition brought two major gangsters to the surface. One major gangster that played a part in the situation was Alphonse Gabriel.
Gangs had also become a big part of the 1920’s, they had a lot of say in went on round the towns they lived in. Gangs had a lot of control of how liquor got in and out of their towns “It was smuggled in from the seas off both the east and west coasts and brought overland from both Canada and Mexico.” (McNeill). Everyday people would smuggle liquor in from all over if it was hard to find by them. They would sell it to family and friends all over and speaks did the same thing.
There were multiple famous illegal activities for hire in Britain’s 1920s. Some of the very famous illegal activities for hire were a hitman, prostitution, smuggling drugs, illegal espionage, thievery, insurance fraud, and smuggling alcohol to the United States. A hitman is a person you can hire to assassinate, kill, someone. It was very popular because it was an easy way to get rid of someone. Prostitution was mainly an illegal female activity where they would let people use their bodies for money, some males participated in it too.
One of the most prominent social biases, both in the 1920’s specifically and throughout American history, is race. In the period after WWI, race tensions were heightening. Tom clearly does not approve of the idea that black people could rise socially and “infiltrate” his world. Even though Tom himself has a mistress, he says, “Nowadays people begin by sneering at family life and family institutions and next they'll throw everything overboard and have intermarriage between black and white. ”(Fitzgerald p130)
Throughout the Roaring 20s many criminal activities had taken place in the United States, such as: World Series Fixing, bootlegging and speakeasies, police complicity in crime, and the Teapot Scandal. The roaring 20s was an era where both employment rate and the amount of leisure time increased. As a family’s income grew, more time was spent for leisure activities such as sports, music, and literature. However, the sport baseball had become such a disappointment for both the baseball players and the public. In the beginning of the 1920s World Fixing took place.
During the 1920s multiple criminal activities were taking place and the majority of illegal activity was due to the eighteenth amendment which prohibited the selling and manufacture of alcohol. Illegal activity that took place was bootlegging and the establishment of speakeasies. With criminal activity on the rise, a major criminal behind many illegal activities at the time was Al Capone. In addition, the Mafia rose with gambling, bootlegging, and illegal marketing.
There were many stories told about outlaws and lawmen during the 1800s in America, and many of them originated from the “Wild West.” There have been stories and legends about people who robbed banks, committed homicide, or threw wanted criminals in jail. Often, people would stretch the truth of what westerners actually did, to make their tale more compelling. The same goes for a popular stagecoach driver of the mid 1800s, a man named Charley Parkhurst, who is best known for being a woman disguised as a man.
During the 1920’s gang related crime was a serious issue. The leader of all this violence and corruption was a man named Al “Scarface” Capone (“Al Capone”). This organized crime, dehumanization, and corruption, became the ultimate image of Chicago for people throughout the world. He was largely immersed in things like gambling, prostitution, and the illegal sale of liquor. He was not convicted for any of his crimes, even the St. Valentine's Day massacre of 1929, until he was imprisoned for tax evasion (Horan).
Ryan Bassil (2013) has argued that director Baz Luhrmann has completely missed the depiction of how F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote his novel, The Great Gatsby. As the era enjoyed social vitality, artistic and cultural dynamism, it gave rise to the name “The Roaring ‘20’s in America (IIE,2016:19), which was a time of wealth, and seemingly endless possibilities. This essay will therefore repudiate why Bassil’s statement is flawed and why Luhrmann’s personal style or aesthetic, his materials and the diegesis enhances the fortunes of the characters and intrigues his viewers and therefore augments the film entirely.