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Institutionalized Criminals Of The 1920s

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The 1920s was a time of prosperity in America; the stock market was skyrocketing, the Great War was over and America seemed to turn the corner onto a new, prosperous age. Not only were stock investors and white collar workers experiencing a great flow of wealth, gangsters and criminals were also experiencing a great cash flow. After the Eighteenth Amendment went into effect, it was immediately exploited by gangsters who had already began to think about the business opportunity that the United States government unintentionally provided to them. Despite their many negative impacts on society, criminal organizations in America during the 1920’s personified the american dream because of their exploitation of a unique business opportunity, they adapted their business to make it more efficient and they were able to gain financial prosperity while doing so.

On January 17, 1920, the Eighteenth Amendment officially came into effect. This new provision in the constitution made it illegal to manufacture, sell and transport intoxicating liquor (under .05% alcohol content) in America. To enforce this new law, the Federal Government assigned only 1,500 agents in America. This created a hole for organized criminals to exploit; they made millions of …show more content…

In the beginning, many of their bootlegging operations relied on bootleggers on foot. However, when automobiles and boats became more widespread across America, they utilized their big carrying capacity to maximize profits. Boats became liquor transporters and made profits skyrocket, for example a blockade runner boat that was $100,000 could hold 8,000 cases of liquor, with a $1 profit on each bottle a bootlegger could get back his whole investment in one run (280) Emory Buckner, a prominent lawyer during the time, believed that annual sales of boating liquor had reached $3.6 billion nationally by 1926

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