Al Capone And His Ascent To Power

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Al Capone And His Ascent To Power Essay, Research Paper In 1920, the United States entered a new stage in its life, the Era of Prohibition. However, flaws in the planning, execution, and administration caused this noble idea to vacillate unquestionably. However, men who were willing to break the law were the ones that were able to build a lucrative life for themselves; one such man was Alphonse Capone. However, honest men such as Elliot Ness fought adamantly to defend their morals, beliefs, and the law of the land. Nevertheless, Capone was a man who took advantage of his time and lived the life of the American Dream: going from rags to riches. However, it was this very same opulence that caused his downfall and incarceration. The tireless efforts of Elliot Ness eventually

paid off when On January 16, 1920, the Eighteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States was ratified. This legislation gave legal satisfaction to the temperance movement of the early twentieth century. It officially mandated that the transportation, manufacture, sale, and consumption of any beverage with an alcohol content of more than .05% was illegal. However, although the U.S. government took the initiative to enact the law, the enforcement of it was severely lacking for several reasons. First, responsibility was given to the Department of the Treasury, not the Department of Justice. This resulted in agents with little to no training in the skills required to execute their duties. Second, these agents received scant salaries that eventually lead to widespread

corruption and bribery. In fact, from 1920 to 1926, 148 enforcement employees were convicted of bribery or other alcohol-related offenses. Although the original intent of the Eighteenth Amendment was to lower crime and increase public morale, it mainly served as a catalyst for crime and violence. In 1926, a Senate investigation discovered that most of the illegal liquor being consumed was coming from smugglers, illegal usage of industrial or medicinal alcohol, and moonshine liquor. They concluded that increasing border security could control the smuggling dilemma. The other problems could only be solved by a more competent approach to enforcement, including the restructuring of administration as well as the officers and agents, changes in hiring practices and training, and

increased salaries for all agents. However, the main reason for the failure of the Eighteenth Amendment was nothing the Senate could remedy; many Americans were upset by its enactment. Since the beginning of Prohibition, the general public disregarded the legislation as hogwash. People of all classes, races, or beliefs flocked to speakeasies in droves to drink illegal alcohol that was either produced illegally or smuggled in from other countries by land or sea. Smuggling alcohol was a very lucrative business for the unscrupulous. In order to ease the transportation, smugglers switched from beer and wine to hard liquor because it was more concentrated easier to hide. Since illegal liquor production was a black market, producers did not have to worry about government regulations

when considering what to put into their drinks. In addition, many bootleggers were new to the game and did not know what they were doing. Many ended up accidentally producing poisonous liquor. Gabriele and Teresina Capone, along with their three sons, were two of the 43,000 Italians who arrived in the U.S. in 1894. After five years in the United States, a forth son joined the family as Teresina gave birth to the family’s Alphonse Capone. Since their arrival, nothing “about the Capone family was inherently disturbed, violent, or dishonest… They were a law-abiding, unremarkable Italian-American family with conventional patterns of behavior and frustrations; they displayed no special genius for crime, or anything else, for that matter,” (Bardsley 2000). At first, the Capone