The Origins Of The American Mafia

1711 WordsOct 17, 20167 Pages
INTRODUCTION Since their beginning, American society has been fascinated with the gangster lifestyle and the American Mafia is no exception to this trend. Mafia themed movies such as Scarface and Goodfellas have proven to be timeless classics. However, the American Mafia goes deeper than the media shows. While they do have the same name, the American Mafia is a group of Italian Americans and is not directly affiliated with the original Sicilian Mafia. The American Mafia is a highly organized and complex nationwide criminal network with a membership hierarchy and a strict set of values. HISTORY The origin of the American Mafia can be traced back to the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. Thousands of Italians flocked to America in hopes of better economic opportunities. Between 1880 and 1910, the Italian population in New York alone increased by 2400%, from 20,000 to 500,000. While the majority of the Italian immigrant were good and law-abiding citizens, a minority formed small neighborhood gangs that would later become one of the largest organized crime gangs in the United States. During the 1920’s Prohibition era, the 18th Amendment was in full swing and the manufacture, sale, and distribution of alcohol was strictly banned. The budding American Mafia took this as a business opportunity and turned to bootlegging. They were incredibly successful at this and their crime regime also grew to include money laundering, smuggling, and bribing officials. Meanwhile in Italy, the

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