Explain why there was a rise in organised crime in the USA after 1919.

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Explain why there was a rise in organised crime in the USA after 1919. (12 marks)

The main reason for the increase in organised crime in the USA after 1919 was the introduction of prohibition.

Prohibition, the 18th amendment, was introduced in 1919 prohibiting the transport, sale and production of alcohol. This came into force in 1920 with the Volstead act which specified alcohol at over 0.5%. However, this law at the same time as being a law just provided gangsters with another business like prostitution and gambling. Gangs were already heavily involved in organised crime and the enforcement in prohibition gave them even more reason to get involved and take over this multi-million dollar business. Hence, prohibition gave gangsters the opportunity to earn a lot of money in this illegal business therefore causing an increase in organised crime.

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From the enforcement of prohibition came the high demand of the general public for the want of alcohol. Gangsters were filling this gap in the market and saw it as giving the people what they want. By doing this illegal “good deed”, gangsters were making a lot of money from the high demand hence there was an increase in organised crime. As well as that, from 1919 a social change was occurring. More women were leaving traditional house wife roles and going along with their husbands to these secret clubs, Speakeasies. Hence these new markets were providing a thriving business ...

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