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Oraganized Crime in the 1920's and The Great Gatsby

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Ian Lewis

on 7 November 2014

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Transcript of Oraganized Crime in the 1920's and The Great Gatsby

In 1917, after the United States entered World War I, President Woodrow Wilson instituted a temporary wartime prohibition in order to save grain for producing food
That same year, Congress submitted the 18th Amendment, which banned the manufacture, transportation and sale of intoxicating liquors, for state approval
Approved on January 29, 1919, the 18th Amendment went into effect a year later, by which time 33 states had already made their own prohibition legislation. In October 1919, Congress passed the National Prohibition Act, which provided guidelines for the federal enforcement of Prohibition.
Both federal and local government struggled to enforce Prohibition over the course of the 1920s.
Prohibition was enforced much more strongly in areas where the population was sympathetic to the legislation, mainly rural areas and small towns, and much more loosely in urban areas.
Despite having some early success in enforcing prohibition, there was still a lot of illegal drinking and selling of alcohol
Oraganized Crime in the 1920's and The Great Gatsby
Relation to Gatsby
Relation to Today
In today’s society, there are still some forms of Prohibition
Some countries still have prohibition. These countries include Iran, Libya, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, etc
They have prohibition due to religious beliefs
There are also still some small communities in both Canada and the U.S.A that still support prohibition
These people believe that they are better off without alcohol
In Canada, 6 provinces and 2 territories have dry communities
In the U.S.A 33 states have dry communities
Running and regulating gambling businesses was an excellent way for gangsters to earn significant profits.
Roulette, craps and various card games were the typical forms of gambling. The most prominent gambling that took place was betting on horse races.
Gambling organizations were often disguised as pool halls because of its illegality.
These organizations were very successful. The bad economy led desperate citizens to believe that beating the odds would make a sufficient income for their families.

Relation to Gatsby
The theme of gambling is in The Great Gatsby.
Jay Gatsby claims that Meyer Wolfsheim fixed the world series to ensure people who were betting on the winning team would receive money.
Gambling is now legal, and is widely practiced for entertainment, money and even addiction.
The same gambling games are played today that were played in the 1920s.
Las Vegas is renowned for their many casinos and gambling lifestyle
Some casinos make millions of dollars a day.
Many movies and other media are inspired by a gambling scene

During prohibition, there was a lot of bootlegging and speakeasies.
Bootlegging and speakeasies caused a lot of organized crime
The expensive costs of bootleg liquor meant that the working class and poor were more restricted during Prohibition than middle or upper class Americans
support for Prohibition was going down by the end of the 1920s
With the country hurting in the Great Depression by 1932, creating jobs and revenue by legalizing the liquor industry had an undeniable appeal
FDR became president in 1933 and help legalized the sale of alcohol
Though a few states continued to prohibit alcohol after Prohibition’s end, all had abandoned the ban by 1966.
Tom asked Nick if Gatsby was some big bootlegger. Nick asked Tom where he got such an idea and Tom told him that many of the rich people are just big bootleggers, so he thought Gatsby was one.
"who is Gatsby anyhow?......Some big bootlegger"
This is how the Great Gatsby is related to Prohibition because during Prohibition, many people made millions off of bootlegging
so that’s why Tom assumed Gatsby was one since Gatsby is very wealthy.
Al Capone
Al Capone was born on January 17, 1899, in an extremely tough Brooklyn, New York.
He became part of the Five Points gang in Manhattan and worked for a gangster by the name of Frankie Yales Brooklyn restaurant .
Moved to Chicago in 1919 and was mentored by John Torrio.
After Torrio's departure from Chicago Al Capone took over speak easies, bookie joints, gambling houses, brothels, horse and race tracks, nightclubs, distilleries and breweries
Reportedly made over 100 million a year.
Massacre and Retirement
Capone's most notorious killing was the St. Valentine's Day Massacre. On February 14, 1929.
Capone’s men fired more than 150 bullets into the victims.
Capone had an alibi, he was in Florida during the massacre.
Spent 10 Years in Jail for tax evasion
Retired to home in Florida and died of a heart attack on January 25 1947.

Al Capone and His relation to Gatsby
Some readers interpret Capone as a real life adaptation of Gatsby
Both have illegal businesses that help them become new Rich.
Corruption is a big quality in both Gatsby and Capone
Well respected Members in the Community
Impact on Present Day.
Numerous successful Movies about his life
Influenced other Gangsters and Mob bosses to follow his methods for success
Was the first to give Chicago a bad name in terms of gang violence that still remains true today.
Gambling Today
Crime Families of the 1920's
Many organized crime leaders and participants were immigrants trying to become "new rich"
Started as the 5 families involved with organized crime.
These families were Luchesse, Bonanno, Gambino, Colombo and Genovese
These families were often specialized in gambling, loansharking, money laundering, and fraud.
Relation to the Present
organized crime, now has a lot more structure and order between families due to the introduction of the commission in 1931 that still stands today
Commission holds meetings between families to discuss business and settle arguments.
Most organized crime today is done off- shore in countries like Japan
for example yamaguchi gumi have been estimated to make 80 billion dollars in revenue this year alone.
Organized crime in N.A includes rival street gangs such as the crips and the bloods.
Gatsby vs. The "Mafia"
Like Gatsby, many immigrants coming into the U.S were very poor and were to desperate to make a quick buck, this led them to turn to a life of crime
Gatsby was directly correlated with organized crime himself as he was involved with the distribution of illegal alcohol.
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