Bootleggers And Gangsters During The Prohibition Era

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For my ethnographic research report, I chose to study Bootleggers and gangsters during the Prohibition Era. Prohibition was a time, from 1920 to 1933, during which the manufacture, sale and consumption of alcohol was illegal. Supporters of Prohibition were mostly religious middle class protestant woman who felt that the United States needed to be socially reformed; therefore, they were able to convince enough lawmakers to pass the 18th amendment that essentially outlawed alcohol beverages . Although it became illegal during this era to consume alcoholic beverages, demand remained high. People felt that alcohol provided them with a way to release the tension they felt after a long hard day at work. It was a form of entertainment. Others …show more content…

(, “Al Capone”). A bootlegger can also be categorized by anyone illegally making alcoholic beverages, selling these beverages or transporting them . The Volstead Act that went into effect on January 16th, 1920 allowed the enforcement of the Eighteenth Amendment. Bootlegging prospered as criminals fulfilled the demand for alcohol by a public that was unwilling to give up their drinking habits. Many forms of alcohol were smuggled, such as wine, beer and whiskey. It was either brought into the United States across the border, stolen, illegally manufactured or converted from medicinal alcohol produced from drug companies. The illegally obtained alcohol would then be sold to bars that would become known as speakeasies; in fact, In the first two years of prohibition law approximately 65,000 federal criminal charges were made which crippled the justice system. This overload of activity caused Judges to lower penalties. Judges were also receptive to bribes from gangsters who looked to continue their criminal activities.( Anderson, …show more content…

Business like crime organizations arose for the need to supply alcohol. As the demand for alcohol remained high, bootleggers and gangster prospered. There were courtroom clashes, shootouts, car crashes, wiretapping and murder. All in the name of organizing the best gang. Hundreds of people died in gangster related violence. The most famous shootout was dubbed the St. Valentine's Day Massacre where seven men from the “Bugs” Moran gang were gunned down. Out of the mayhem, the gangsters built partnerships, negotiated treaties and had specific territories. (Mappen, “Prohibition …”). These gangster bosses were involved in political, social and economic considerations of their time. (20th Century, “Legends…”). Armed thugs were stationed outside of polling booths to ensure that corrupt political candidates were voted into office. Chicago mayor Bill Thompson was one of Al Capone's “men”. Capone spent over $75 million in bribes to ensure that his business continued. He considered this a good investment considering the amount of money he was

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