Prohibition Essay examples

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Prohibition, A Complete Failure

     Prohibition had become an issue long before its eventual induction as the 18th amendment in 1920. Organizations came about for the sole purpose of an alcohol free America. In 1833, an estimated one million Americans belonged to some type of temperance association (Behr 12). Many believed the absence of alcohol would help the poor as well as big business. Lower class people would put more money into savings accounts and productivity would increase among workers (Hanson 27). More importantly the “noble experiment”—was undertaken to reduce crime and corruption, solve social problems, and improve the health and hygiene in America” (Thorton 1).
Although gangsters of the 1920’s
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Racketeers and gangsters competed for business, spawning a wave of violence across the nation” (Hanson 35). No place was more evident of this than Chicago.
“ The evil genius of all gangsterdom was Al Capone, first haled to Chicago at 23 by Johnny Torrio, who was at the time boss of the Windy City’s underworld” (Edey 175). By the time Capone took control in 1925 he controlled all the speakeasies in Chicago, which were estimated to be at 10,000, and had a gang 700 strong to enforce his reign (Edey 175). During Capone’s reign “Chicago suffered upwards of 400 gang murders a year” (Edey 175).

For the most part main stream America accepted gangsters. It was a necessary evil to get the alcohol they craved (Bergreen 231). Until that is, the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre in 1929. “ Crime in Chicago has been so psychologically successful, that it takes such a romantically excessive episode as the recent St. Valentine’s Day Massacre to stir the citizens at all “(Bergreen 319). Seven of Bugs Moran’s (a chief rival of Capone) men were slaughtered in warehouse on Clark Street in Chicago. The five killers, two dressed as policemen, made a clean get away (Heimel 48, 49). What especially galled officials was “the spectacle of a squad of hit men masquerading as police…” (Bergreen 314).
As a mark of the violence created by gangsters during prohibition, consider the homicide rate, which increased from less than 7 per 100,000 in1920

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