Prohibition and Bootlegging in the 1920s

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In 1919, the eighteenth Amendment was passed which made the making and selling of alcohol illegal. Even though the eighteenth amendment was enforced for the sole purpose of stopping drinking all together, it did not even come close to its main goal. Instead, Prohibition caused the rise of infamous bootleggers, speakeasies, and angry Americans. The system of bootleggers and speakeasies created a large number of gangs, which led to an incredible amount of organized crime throughout the 1920s(Blumenthal).

This law was not enforced well enough and the organized crime rates increased as gangsters such as Al Capone began to get into the act of bootlegging (Rose). “Bootlegging, or rum-running as it was often called, is the unlawful manufacture, sale, or movement of alcoholic products.” (Coren and Cina). Most Americans shared the opinion in that this law was unfair and unnecessary. However, a group of Americans known as the “moral reformers” felt that banning the sell and consumption of alcohol would better protect the lives of people and make them better (Rose). On the contrary, many Americans were so mad about it that they decided to take part in the act of bootlegging.

When Prohibition was first introduced, the majority of Americans saw it as a loss of their rights given to them as a U.S. citizen. They believed that with living in America, comes the right to drink alcohol (Blumenthal). Therefore, a few people figured out they could still consume alcohol, it would just have to be done illegally. This was the infamous act in the 1920s called bootlegging. The people that would partake in this action would be punished with jailtime or even death for some major bootleggers if they got caught. (Coren and Cina).

Prohibition took away the right of Americans to even produce alcohol. For the people that made a living off of selling alcohol, prohibition left them without money and struggling to take up jobs. In order for them to make money, they had to become a bootlegger. They would illegally produce and sell alcohol to people and owners of speakeasies (Coren and Cina).

After the eighteenth amendment was successfully passed by the government, the quickest way to make money was through the illegal production and smuggling of alcohol. This act of bootlegging created the infamous gangsters who made their fortunes from alcohol. The greatest contributor to these gangs being Al Capone. Capone shortly became the head of Chicago’s largest speakeasies where he bootlegged alcohol. He became very well known after he and Torrio set up the assassination of the former mob boss Colissimo (Blumenthal).

Capone knew that the only way he would be successful in the bootlegging business, was if he became the mob boss instead of Colissimo. A man named Eliot Ness took on the job of enforcing the law of prohibition. To do so, he had to form a team of other Americans who supported this law. Eventually, Ness and his team known as the “Untouchables”, were able to take down Al Capone and do a great deal of damage to his bootlegging business.

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Prohibition and Bootlegging in the 1920s. (2020, Dec 07). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/prohibition-and-bootlegging-in-the-1920s/

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