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To what extent was the abolition of Prohibition in 1933 due to an increase in crime?

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Introduction

To what extent was the abolition of Prohibition in 1933 due to an increase in crime? Prohibition was introduced in 1919 in the expectation that all parts of society would prosper. However this was not the case and in many respects 'The Noble Experiment' did quite the opposite. It is clear that crime was a very influential factor in bringing about the abolition of prohibition in 1933. The interdiction of alcohol gave criminals the perfect chance to prosper more than ever before and criminal activity dramatically increased during the prohibition period. However, crime was by no means the only contributory factor to the eventual repeal of the Prohibition. Other economic, social and political problems that America faced at this time also played their part. Before Prohibition, many Americans believed that crime was something that needed to be dealt with, and by illegalizing alcohol they could achieve this. For religious people, especially Protestants who made up a large section of the American population, alcohol was regarded as a 'temptation that led to evil,' and that it was the Christians duty to take away this sin. Many men often got drunk and couldn't turn up for Mass on Sunday. Furthermore it set a bad example to their children. ...read more.

Middle

Perhaps the most notorious gangster who took full advantage of this opportunity was Al Capone. Al Capone gained control of organized crime in Chicago and made between 60 and 100 million dollars at the height of his success. Gangs like Al Capone's emerged throughout America all in competition with one another to profit from selling alcohol and various other drugs. Gang wars terrorised America's major cities. Over 400 gang related murders were recorded during one year in Chicago. This huge scale of gang warfare was partly due to people dependence upon gangsters. Many people wanted alcohol and knew that through gangsters they could attain it. Crimes involving gangsters became increasingly violent due to new inventions such as the machine gun and car. During the 1920's crime figures rocketed. Previous law-abiding citizens became criminals for having an alcoholic drink which they had no intention of giving up. Therefore, far from reducing crime rate, Prohibition increased it. Furthermore, resources being used to enforce other laws were deflected to enforcing prohibition so these suffered as well. Black market violence increased and destroyed many law abiding jobs. Police figures for drink related offences increased from 14,313 in Philadelphia 1920 to 51,361 in 1925. Crime was encouraged as people refused to stop drinking and could easily find somewhere to do it. ...read more.

Conclusion

economy. Many of these loans were used to buy shares on the Wall Street Stock Exchange. As more shares were bought, more money was invested into business and industry. New machinery such as power shovels, dial phones and automatic switchboards improved the communications industry. In short, more consumer goods were bought than ever before. Production increased and became much more efficient. In 1925 the Automobile industry employed almost 500,000 people. Employment was reduced from 11.9% to 3.2% in the space of 8 years. By 1928 morale in America was extremely high. New President Herbert Hoover was quoted as saying: 'We in America today are nearer to the final triumph over poverty than ever before in the history of the land.' American citizens had more money and leisure than they had ever been used to in the past. The Wall Street Crash brought about a sudden, unexpected end to the 'Roaring Twenties.' As a result people's lives were ruined. Many people committed suicide, particularly the old as they felt they weren't able to re-start their live again. Many were affected world wide and plunged into a great depression which did not recover until the end of World War II. People went hungry, houses were lost and children were starved. The exciting, prosperous times of the 1920's seemed like a remote memory to the thousands of men, women and children forced to live in poverty. Overproduction and recklessness in buying shares were at fault. ...read more.

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