• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Al Capone was viewed by the authorities in the USA as Public Enemy Number One. Do the sources, and your own knowledge of the US society in the 1920s and 1930s, support this view?

Extracts from this document...


Prohibition Coursework - Question 5 Al Capone was viewed by the authorities in the USA as Public Enemy Number One. Do the sources, and your own knowledge of the US society in the 1920s and 1930s, support this view? Al Capone broke the law continually in his lifetime and there is no question over that. However, in my opinion, I do not think that he should be viewed as Public Enemy Number One. I believe that he was an enemy to the authorities but not to the public. There are a number of factors which support the US governments case but there are also many aspects which support my view. Source H is a quote from Al Capone in 1930. It was a statement made for anybody to hear. He calls himself a businessman, which is a respected citizen. He tells of how he "supplies a popular demand" (alcohol). This shows me that alcohol was still popular even though it had been banned. From the sources (in particular sources C, F and J) I can see that people generally had a negative attitude towards prohibition and mainly ignored this law; Lots just kept drinking alcohol in any case. Source E shows me this as the number of drinking offences rose considerably because of a rise in alcohol consumption. ...read more.


The picture shows Al smiling and gives a positive attitude towards him; this would make the public feel less threatened by him. TIME was a respected magazine published and sold all across the USA; this built up Capone's reputation and got him known in America and also internationally. Al Capone then became quite dangerous because as he manipulated the media, they in turn, used propaganda and other techniques to influence the general public. Capone had so much control that people at the time were unaware of. Al Capone not only manipulated people but also blackmailed and bribed people so that he got his own way. These people could be the general public but more often, it was the police. He made sure that he covered up his dirty work and always had an alibi. He became friends with a man called Bill Thompson. Bill stood for mayor of Chicago and together, they rigged the election so that he won. This meant that Al Capone had an associate in a position of power; however, it was not a democratic decision and people felt very threatened. Al Capone owned a lot of businesses in Chicago. He owned all the brothels and casinos as well as many illegal saloons known as speakeasies. ...read more.


People turned to alcohol to drown their sorrows and alleviate there fairly miserable lives. As Capone was supplying the drinks people respected him rather than the uncaring authority. The government spent a lot of money trying to catch Capone, which could have been used on making the publics lives better. They used Al Capone as a scapegoat and attempted to blame many extra problems on him. I feel that the authorities were making him out to be worse than he really was and aiming to turn the public against him and against the alcohol. I also believe that, as other countries mocked America (Source C), the government blamed Capone even more as they needed somebody to accuse. In conclusion, I think that it was only the government officials and rival gangs who did not like Al Capone. The general public were either on his side (by buying alcohol, etc) or did not really think about Al Capone, as he was so far away, and so were not threatened by him or against him. Many people respected Capone and in a small way admired him for his bravery and ability to flout the law. Many lower class people wished that they could be him and have the money that he did. In actual fact, not many people of the public truly hated Capone. Therefore, I believe that Al Capone was not really Public Enemy Number One. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE USA 1919-1941 section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE USA 1919-1941 essays

  1. To what extent did America roar in the 1920s?

    At the same time as mass immigration, mass production also became popular. Mass production is the manufacture of products of uniform quality in large quantities using a standardised mechanical process or assembly line. After a short post-war depression, the American economy grew rapidly in the early 1920s.

  2. Did People In the Usa Become More Prosperous In the 1920s?

    The problem lay with the Government. After the War, they adopted a policy of isolationism. The US put large tariffs on foreign goods and foreign countries did the same. As Coolidge said "concentrate on just America with everything for Americans".

  1. (Q1) Describe some of the key features of Americn society in the 1920's?

    An example of this is the Black immigrants who allowed the population of America to increase rapidly. Within a short period, America's population grew from 106 million to 123 million people. Over 16 million black immigrants were believed to have arrived in America.

  2. 'The causes and effects of the great depression caused equal suffering to all of ...

    Once more this shows that suffering was not equal through out Britain after the depression. It is also economic because the source aims to increase sales in the housing market. This source can also be seen as social because it shows the improvement of lifestyle in Britain even.

  1. Prohibition 1920 Sources Question

    This source was intended to be a simple and easy text, written for British scholars to learn history. The source says that it was against American belief to drink alcohol because Americans who had German backgrounds often sold alcohol. Many people disliked the German people because of the First World War.

  2. To What Extent Did The Depression Have An Impact On Society In Britain During ...

    For those living in the areas of Britain that experienced good changes, seeing as they were wealthier they could afford better food that gave them a better balanced diet and improved their health by quite a lot. This is significant because there were still people becoming ill and dying of disease due to not having a healthy, balanced diet.

  1. America in the 1920s

    Shipments of lettuce to the cities, for example, increased from 14,000 crates in 1920 to 52,000 in 1928. But for the most farmers the 920s were a time of hardship. Furthermore, agriculture did not share in prosperity. This was because America's black population was particularly bad.

  2. Revision Notes - the USA in the 1920s and 30s.

    Branding becomes more important. Prohibition and Crime * Prohibition-when something is banned, or stopped from happening. The USA government banned the sale of alcohol, although trade and drinking of alcohol continued illegally. * Prohibition causes-Prohibition happened because: Female reformers argued clear links between alcohol, wife beating, and child abuse, Industrialists(like Henry Ford)

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work