Life in the 1920 s was very different from many other eras throughout the history of the United States. Crime was prevalent all over the country, and people were learning how to hide their crimes successfully. Many mafia gangsters were in the newspapers almost daily. In addition, betting scandals were occurring in sports. The Black Sox Scandal took place because wrongdoings started to become somewhat contagious.
The main gangster of this era was Al Capone; his crimes centered mostly on Prohibition. These gangsters, Prohibition, and the Black Sox Scandal have affected the culture by placing a stereotype on Italians, changing the alcohol industry and its ways, and providing preliminary delinquency for future criminals to try to surpass. A famous scandal arose from within Major League Baseball immediately after the 1919 World Series. The Chicago White Sox, a dominant team during the long duration of the regular season, battled the Cincinnati Reds. The White Sox were heavily favored to win this series and become the champion.
However, a terrible part of the culture intervened with America's pastime. Eight players became involved with the throwing of the World Series. These players were "Shoeless" Joe Jackson, Eddie Cocotte, Claude Williams, Buck Weaver, Arnold Gandil, Fred Mcmullen, Charles Ris berg, and Oscar Fels ch. Arnold Gandil was supposedly the leader of this act. A few weeks before the series, Gandil approached Sullivan, a betting man, about the fix, telling him that for one hundred thousand dollars, he and several of his teammates would make sure the White Sox would lose.
Many people who have analyzed the series believe that it was Comiskey, the owner of the team, who was mainly to blame for the Black Sox Scandal, which it was later nicknamed. If Comiskey had paid his players a decent salary and treated them with even a small amount of respect, they never would have agreed to fix the games. Another reason is that illegal gambling was allowed in Comiskey's park. Although he did have signs up saying that it was against the rules, it was not constrained or enforced at all. (The Black Sox) "Shoeless" Joe Jackson is the most confusing component of the fix in the 1919 World Series. The statistics, if examined, show that Jackson had no involvement in the fix besides being aware that it was happening.
His statistics remained just as exceptional as they had been during the season. He was bound to become a baseball legend until he became involved in this. Every player involved in the scandal was banned from baseball forever, no matter the circumstances. This was Major League Baseball's way of hindering players' involvement in the gambling aspect of the game.
This harsh punishment was concerned with baseball alone, but should have been taken into consideration in the other areas of culture in the United States in the next decade. (The Black Sox) Almost a year later, a major change in American culture took place. Midnight of January 16, 1920 came around and the legal consumption of liquor and alcohol that had become a habit for many Americans was immediately frozen in time when the Eighteenth Amendment was put into effect. This amendment outlawed the manufacturing, sale, and transportation of intoxicating liquors anywhere within the United States. The Eighteenth Amendment had the main purpose of reducing the tax burden that was created mostly by detention centers and other delinquency facilities. The other goal of this amendment was to improve the health and hygiene throughout the United States.
It was also passed to reduce the crime rate in the major cities all through the country. (Poholek) The amount of felonies dramatically increased after the amendment was put in place because of the organization of crime in large cities. The public had a strong desire for liquor, a substance that they had relied on for years to have a good time. They needed alcohol in their bodies; therefore, they turned to gangsters and bootleggers to provide it for them. The gangsters willingly and eagerly accepted this offer of the bootlegging industry. As described by Edward Dean Sullivan, the illegal sale of liquor provided a "no work- slight risk- vast remuneration." (Mac Nee) The bootlegging industry contained unbelievable amounts of money that could easily be achieved if one gang could take over the entire industry.
This struggle for control of the entire bootlegging industry led to rivalries between the major gangs in the big cities. It contributed to the four hundred gang-related murders each year in the city of Chicago. (Poholek) Many people consider the Prohibition era of the 1920 s ineffective because it was impossible to enforce the laws and regulations. Prohibition also caused the quick growth in crime rate and alcohol consumption. Supporters of the Prohibition try to release the argument that the crime rate decreased; however, the decrease in minor crimes, such as swearing, mischief, and vagrancy, is the only area where the rate actually decreased. Between 1920 and 1921, the major crimes, such as homicide and burglary, increased an astounding twenty-four percent.
(Poholek) This era also led to many new slang words for different types of crime. Alky cooking, which is making small quantities of alcohol in a person's own home, continued for years to come. A hijacker, which is a bootlegger who steals another's shipment of liquor, is still a term today for someone who steals some kind of transportation device. A bootlegger, or a supplier of alcohol, a term derived from the Indian reservations, was usually a normal person who looked to make money in other ways than hard work. A rum-runner, or an importer of alcohol who used varying smuggling techniques, is now the name of an alcoholic beverage. Speakeasies, or illegal bars in which a password was necessary for entry, were homes to prostitutes and gangsters who were involved in the bootlegging industry.
(Fido) The Prohibition period in America finally came to an end after thirteen years. Many arguments have risen to decide whether the Eighteenth Amendment helped or damaged America. The arguments against Prohibition were the increase in crime rate, the increase in alcohol consumption, and the beginnings of organized crime. The argument in favor of Prohibition was the decrease in minor crimes.
Overall, Prohibition was unsuccessful because the punishments for crimes were not nearly severe enough to hinder the involvement of many Americans. Prohibition, the main cause of organized crime, led to the rise of the most famous and one of the deadliest criminals known to mankind. This man is known as Al "Scarface" Capone. He was born on January 17, 1899 in Brooklyn, New York. His very first arrest was for a disorderly conduct charge when he was working. His first murder was at a very young age, killing two men.
This showed that he was willing to kill without feeling any devastating emotions about it. This murder was under a man named Yale, a gangster boss in New York. Capone later hospitalized a rival gang member, which gave Yale the motivation to send Al to Chicago until the fire within the rivals was doused. Capone used his connections with Yale to land a job with Yale's old adviser, John Torrio.
Capone rapidly moved up in ranks and eventually became Torrio's right-hand man. He partially owned many gambling houses and saloons with Torrio; these produced a considerable profit at the time. Capone soon inherited Torrio's gang when Torrio decided to leave Chicago because of a shooting aimed at him. Capone proved to the unbelievers that he was an even better leader than Torrio, and that he could enhance and expand the vice industry. He took over many speakeasies, bookie joints, horse tracks, racetracks, nightclubs, distilleries, and alcohol breweries. His income from merely these components of his business reported at a hundred million dollars.
(Al Capone) One of Al Capone's most renowned crimes that he was not persecuted for was the Valentine's Day Massacre. In North Chicago on one February afternoon, seven well-dressed men were found completely covered in bullet wounds in the S. M. C. Cartage Co. garage.
They had been lined up facing the wall and shot until they did not move. These men were all gangsters working under a boss named "Bugs" Moran. Many people questioned who was responsible for this killing known as the Valentine's Day Massacre. Al Capone had the most motive, but he had a good alibi. He was somewhere in Florida at the time of the murder so that he could not be held responsible.
People also questioned why people with a massive supply of weapons at hand would back down to another gang like they did. This question was answered when a lady who lived directly across the street gave her account of everything that she had seen. She informed the officers that she had heard all of the gunfire but then saw two uniformed policemen walk out with two plain clothed men in handcuffs. She figured the situation had been resolved because of the policemen walking out. The Chicago police then checked their records and realized that no activity had been reported until they arrived on the scene of the vicious crime at that time. "Bugs" Moran was nowhere to be found in the bloodbath.
Capone had not targeted Moran specifically because Moran was a leading gangster in Chicago, making him nearly impossible to find and kill. Capone planned to start at the bottom of his gang and kill every member, leaving Moran completely helpless and having to give in to Capone's rising power. (St. Valentine's Day Massacre) A typical Capone murder was having front men, people Capone ordered to commit crimes, rent an apartment across the street from the future victim. As soon as the person left their house, they would immediately shoot and kill the person. The operations were always quick and complete, with Capone using a different alibi for every time so that he could not be accused.
The Valentine's Day Massacre was not a typical Capone murder; it was much more complex. The Valentine's Day Massacre is just one of the many killings that makes Al Capone one of the most dreaded gangsters of all time. He even survived the Black Hand gang, which aimed their persecution at all Italian gangsters. They were out of his way by 1920 mostly because these people turned to the Prohibition money. (Al Capone) Al Capone represents the collapse of organization of law in the entire city of Chicago.
He escaped all accusations of murders and gang related crimes. The only reason for his decline in the business was tax fraud, which is one of the only felonies he was charged with. Capone helped to give Chicago the nickname of a lawless city. His murder techniques and quantity of killings will affect the culture of the United States forever. (Al Capone) Life in the 1920 s can easily be set apart from every other era in the history of the United States.
Scandals and crimes were common all over, but mostly in the big cities. Major League Baseball had a decrease in followers for years after the 1919 Black Sox Scandal. Al Capone committed many famous and horrific crimes. Crime and scandal in the 1920 s became part of everyday life. It is one of the most interesting decades that could ever be studied mainly because of Prohibition, the Black Sox Scandal, and Al Capone. All of these occurrences have affected the society of the United States for almost eighty years..