Prohibition Led To The Rapid Growth Of Organized Crime Essay

1401 Words 6 Pages
Prohibition was a period of time in which the sale, manufacture, or transport of alcoholic beverages became illegal. It started January 16, 1919 and continued to December 5, 1933. Although it was designed to put an end to all drinking, it simply created a large number of bootleggers who produced and sold illegal alcohol. Many of these bootleggers became very rich and influential through selling alcohol and also through other methods. They pioneered the practices of organized crime that are still used today. Thus, Prohibition led to the rapid growth of organized crime.
The introduction of prohibition in 1919 created numerous opinions and issues in American society. Prohibition had been a long standing issue in America, with temperance
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for beverage purposes is hereby prohibited." (Constitution)
The public reaction to the introduction of Prohibition was largely mixed. The temperance organizations rejoiced at their victory. Over a century of work had finally paid off for them. The rest of the country, however, was less than pleased. Many saw it as a violation of their freedom, and others simply wanted to keep drinking. It did not take long for people to begin their protest. Less than one hour after prohibition took effect six gunmen hijacked a train in Chicago and stole over $100,000 worth of whiskey that was marked for medicinal use (Gingold 28). In New York, although there were no violent protests recorded that night, people all over the city mourned the loss of alcohol at their favorite saloon or restaurant, and drank a final toast at midnight (John ... Toll of 12).
The huge public demand for alcohol led to a soaring business for bootleggers. When prohibition began, people immediately wanted a way to drink. Hence, the extremely profitable bootlegging business was born. Before Prohibition gangs existed, but had little influence. Now, they had gained tremendous power almost overnight. Bootlegging was easy - New York City gangs paid hundreds of poor immigrants to maintain stills in their apartments. Common citizens, once law abiding, now became criminals by making their own alcohol. However, this posed risks for those who made their own. "The…

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