United States History II- CP
8 May 1999
Al Capone in the 1920s
Organized crime was not so organized up until the 1920s. When the 1920s arrived, the American lifestyle changed dramatically. People started investing money in home appliances and automobiles, womens skirts became higher and drinking became very popular. Also, organized crime came to a rise in the 1920s. And in the high ranks of organized crime was Al Capone. Al Capone ran many illegal businesses including bootlegging, gambling, prostitution, and murders. There were many gangs in the world of organized crime and Al Capones was at the top. Al Capone was the most infamous gangster in the 1920s.
Being a big time gangster was big business. Money was made fast and very easily. Bootlegging alcohol was by far the most profitable in the 1920s, this was because of the prohibition. Gambling was another business that paid off. Gambling stations were set up all over cities. Prostitution and Murders were also crimes that made gangsters money.
Alphonse Capone was the biggest force in organized crime. He started his career of crime in Boston, as an apprentice to Johnny Torrio. That is where he earned the unforgettable nickname Scarface. It was in a bar when Capone made some rude comments about a woman. Minutes later, the womans brother sliced Capone in the face.
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This man was a friend of Charles Lucky Luciano. Al Capone was punished and forced to apologize. Al Capone did not become a leader until he went to Chicago. At the time he was still an apprentice to Johnny Torrio.
In the midst of the gang violence and bootlegging was Chicago. Chicago was a great place to start a ring of organized crime. The government was very weak which made it easier to do crime. Capone entered the city of Chicago in 1920. At the time, Big Jim Colosimo ran things. He made about 50,000 dollars a month. Torrio and Capone started their business with four gambling joints/whore houses in Chicago. These underground places were known as deuces. In Chicago Capone met a man who would be his friend for life, Jack Guzik. Guzik was Jewish. His family lived off prostitution. Al Capone never worried about racial issues, his wife was even Irish. After Jack Guzick was roughed up by a Joe Howard, Capone let out his temper. It did not help when Howard called Capone some rude names. Soon after, Capone shot him down. There was no conviction, it was clear that Capone was becoming more and more powerful. He had to have connections in the law to not be convicted.
Al Capone finally got a taste of leadership after a few years of partnership with Torrio. Torrio left Capone in control of their areas to take his sick mother back to Italy. Capone was at the top of a Chicago suburb known as Cicero. At the age of 25, Capone was one of the most powerful men in Chicago, but being such a force also made him a target for rival gangs.
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In New York, Arnold Rothstein was the man. He was a bootlegger, he also sold narcotics, and he started off many big names in crime such as Charles Lucky Luciano, Frank Costello and Dutch Shultz. Rothstein made friends with as many bootleggers and gamblers as he could. He never wanted anything to go wrong. He was sort of paranoid but Rothstein was a very powerful man. The most incredible act ever made by a thug just may have been the fixing of the 1919 World Series between the Reds and the White Sox. Many of the White Sox star players wanted higher wages, owners of the club refused. But Rothstien changed that. It was said that he paid off eight of the White Sox players 10,000 dollars each. The Reds would have lost but with a little help from Rothstein the White Sox did lose and Rothstein got back all of his money winning bets.
Charles Lucky Luciano was another one of the most successful gangsters during the 1920s. His place of crime was New York. Luciano started under a man named Maranzano as Capone started under Johnny Torrio. Luciano was one of Maranzanos