Organized Crime Research Paper

1472 Words6 Pages
Research Question
What were the major factors that led to the rise and hegemony of the Italian-American organized crime syndicate in New York in the early 1900’s?

The Italian mafia is an organization that has been at the forefront of modern American culture, its dark history reaching a peak through media coverage and pop culture, through movies such as the Godfather, and news stories covering some of the most famous mob criminals. During the early 1900s, as a result of the increase of criminal experience; in addition to further political connections, mobsters were able to exploit the manifestation of the Prohibition, which had been sanctioned as the 18th Constitutional Amendment in 1919 (Organized Crime). Chicagoans were not willing to do
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The mafia did not instantly become a global phenomenon, but instead had its humble beginnings in the midst of the illegal alcohol trade. Before Prohibition, most gangs limited their criminal activity to thievery and gambling; but soon transformed into organized groups of “bootleggers”; individuals who illegally imported liquor and resold it to the Americans (Bryan). One prominent example of a bootlegging gangster who became a millionaire would be Alphonse ‘Al’ Capone. To elaborate; because bootlegging had been deemed illegal under Prohibition, Capone had bribed to politicians and police, paying off every law enforcement agent in exchange for immunity in the districts in which he operated his illegal businesses. (Sullivan, 149). As the gangs grew stronger through the trade, near the end of the 1920s, twenty-three bosses, all of Sicilian families, gathered from New York City, Chicago, Detroit, St. Louis, Tampa, and Philadelphia for a national convention. Through this convention, they discussed common interests, problems, and explored the idea of establishing a nationwide crime syndicate (Bryan). Following the convention, they established a national "Commission," made up of one representative from each of the country's nine territories. While highly profitable bootlegging period ended in 1933 with the repeal of the Eighteenth Amendment, the seed had been planted, and the mafia flourished. According to Professor Calderon, author of “Organized Crime – American Mafia”; as a result of the end of the bootlegging industry, organized crime syndicates focused on other criminal activities including loan sharking (which, essentially, means to charge extremely high interest rates on loans, typically near-impossible to pay
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