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

To what extent was organised crime the main factor that led to the failure of Prohibition

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

To what extent was organised crime the main factor that led to the failure of Prohibition? In January 1919 the 18th Amendment outlawed the manufacture, transportation and sale of liquor, backed up by the Volstead Act which classify liquor as any drink which contained 0.5% alcohol or more. Different groups backed this new law but it was also opposed by many. Prohibition, never succeeded. There were various reasons why the enforcing of Prohibition failed. Both presidential candidates in 1932 were 'wet' so on 5th December 1933 Prohibition was finally abolished by the 21st Amendment - 14 years after it had been introduced. But was organised crime and the gangsters the only reason why Prohibition failed? I will give a talk about how organised crime contributed to the failure of prohibition. The 18th Amendment had banned the sale, transportation and manufacture of alcohol in America. But it was clear to some, that millions neither wanted this law nor would respect it," rich and immigrant working class, regarded Prohibition as an intolerable infringement of personal liberty and simply defied it." There was obviously a huge market for what in the 1920's was an illegal commodity. It was the gangsters who dominated various cities who provided this commodity. "With no legitimate source of liquor left, clubs, speakeasies and private dealers were compelled to turn to the underworld bosses, became a ready prey." ...read more.

Middle

It has been estimated that in 1929, Al Capone's income from his business was $60,000,000 to $100,000,000 on illegal alcohol alone, $25,000,000 on gambling establishments, and $10,000,000 from various other 'rackets', although no-one was ever sure exactly how rich he was as he kept all his money in cash. Al Capone employed a team of heavily armed men and was under constant protection from his bodyguard. Capone and his corps were fighting using the new formula, using the weight, power and terrorisation of weapons tried and proved in the Great War. They used pistols, machine-guns and sawn off shotguns to wipe out anyone that got in their way and were rarely arrested - Capone got away with all of the 400 murders that he committed . No-one is quite sure exactly how many murders he committed, but the most reliable figures from historians suggest that it was over 400. The most famous gang warfare incident that occurred during Prohibition was probably the St Valentine's Day Massacre on 14th February 1929 when Capone's gang mowed down the entire Bug's Moran gang, their Irish rivals. This was revenge for Bugs Moran killing one of Capone's friends. One by one Capone's rivals were slaughtered. 227 rival gangsters were 'rubbed out' in four years, and he cunningly prevented himself from being caught by very careful planning and intimidating any witnesses. ...read more.

Conclusion

I think that the nature of the law made it very hard to enforce, as it was very hard to capture and punish law breakers. But the group who contributed most to this difficulty along side the general public, in my opinion, were the gangsters. The gangsters took control of the whole industry and made alcohol readily available to any American citizen who wanted it, although this part of the reason does combine closely with the lack of public support. I think that if it weren't for the gangsters then the problem would never have been as severe, as many members of the public would have had to go without alcohol and the Prohibition Agents' time could have been used more effectively and devoted to 'ordinary' US citizens, as opposed to gangsters, who were in the business for the money. The gangsters controlled the public, the bootleggers, the speakeasy owners and many members of the police force, government and the courts - hindering the law enforcement greatly. The problem was the great power that the gangsters had. Overall, I think that the gangsters were the main reason why Prohibition failed, followed closely by the lack of public support. My reasoning behind this opinion is that the demand by the public for alcohol could not have been met without the powerful gangsters and once they had started to meet this demand they could not be stopped as the gangsters controlled and influenced many people who should have had influence over the gangsters and stopped them providing alcohol to. ...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 was Prohibtion doomed to fail from its inception?

    virtually impossible for the government to ban the main ingredient used in the making of beer, it was grain, the same ingredient used in many food supplies, so if they were to ban the production of this they would essentially be starving their country.

  2. USA and the Prohibiton law - 1920

    produced or sold, and mainly, therefore decreasing the rate of poverty in the USA. There are five sources which recognizably support the view that the collapse of this law was unavoidable, these are sources A, G, H, I and J.

  1. History - Prohibition

    Although in 1920, he says he will do his job properly, this was said before the rise of the gangsters and so he could have become corrupted by bribery as many commissioners and law enforcer were during the 1920s. We know that by the late 1920s, the bribery and terror tactics of gangsters had made the enforcement of Prohibition ineffective.

  2. There are many contributing factors to why prohibition was introduced on 16 January 1920. ...

    2. How did Prohibition effect American Society? Much like alcohol being outlawed, prohibition effected many different groups of people when it was introduced. On January 16th 1920 liquor disappeared throughout America, which was seen as a big step to making America a better place for everybody. The idea of prohibition being introduced was to make the country

  1. To what extent did America

    American companies lost a lot of money because of this and many people lost their jobs because companies had to shut down factories or couldn't afford to employ them. So between 1922-1927 the companies roared because the Americans only bought there merchandise because the goods from other countries were taxed

  2. Prohibition was doomed a failure from the start - agree or disagree

    In the caption besides the illustration it says that this is a cartoon representing the 'National Gesture'. The National Gesture was literally bribery on a national scale, which is represented by each of the law-enforcing figures. They each have their hands beside them, which is also known as a backhander, or in other words accepting a bribe.

  1. To what extent was the abolition of Prohibition in 1933 due to an increase ...

    In relation to the war, America was very concerned about reports of its soldiers getting drunk. It was considered that Prohibition was 'patriotic' and that it would 'help the war effort.' Moreover, a German company called Pubst brewed much of the beer that was drunk in America.

  2. Prohibition of Alcohol.

    All in all source G supports Source E because they both show, along with Source F, that prohibition did not work, as is the message that source E shows us. The dream in source D did not come to pass for many reasons.

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