Al Capone: One of the Most Ruthless Men of All Time
The ultimate symbol of a gangster rule, is a guy by the name of Al Capone, who dominated the Chicago underworld by committing many crimes: such as illegal gambling, extortion, prostitution, and alcohol distribution during prohibition. Capone's life of gang activity started at a very young age. He created a multi-million dollar empire of crime in Chicago. He has been referred to as one of the most ruthless men of all time (Stockdale 45). He was a smart businessman, good family man, and a generous person, that lived a life full of murders and other crimes.
Gabriele Capone was a barber that lived in Naples, Italy who decided to escape a bleak rural life in the promise of work and success in the New World. He was one of 43,000 Italians who arrived in the U.S. in 1894 (Stockdale 7-8). Gabriele was 30 years old and he brought his 27-year-old wife, Teresina and their three sons. He was planning to start a barbershop when he got to America. On January 17, 1899, Teresina gave birth to their fourth son named Alphonse Capone (Bardsley 2). The Capone family lived a very normal life with no problems or events that would explain why their sons chose a life of crime. In 1907, Gabriel moved his family into an apartment over his barbershop in an Italian district in south Brooklyn. This move exposed Alphonse to a different kind of life on the streets. He became a member of a junior gang called the Forty Thieves Juniors, which taught its members the art of petty vandalism. The gang taught him how to use violence to get what you want. When he was 14 years old, Al got expelled from school and never went back after he got mad at his teacher and hit her. By this time, Al Capone was destined to live a life of crime (Stockdale 9-11).
By the time Al was 14 years old, he was an experienced streetfighter and had learned how to use a knife and gun successfully. He became a good leader of the junior gang and was introduced to the Five Points Gang in Brooklyn by Frankie Yale and John Torrio. He began working for Frankie Yale who was an important figure in the adult gang in Brooklyn. Al was 16 years old and was helping control Yale's prostitution, gambling, extortion, and protection rackets (Schoenberg 23-25). Al Capone worked at the Harvard Inn as a bartender and a bouncer. One night he tried to pick up a woman that he found attractive, not knowing that her brother was sitting next to her. The brother jumped up and hit Capone in the face. Capone became raged and the other man pulled out a knife and cut Capone's face 3 times before he ran out of the Harvard Inn with his sister. This is how Capone earned his nickname, Scarface (Bardsley 7-9).
In 1918, Al Capone got married and had a son. His wife's name was Mae Coughlin. His son was found to have congenital syphilis. Years after his sons birth, Capone admitted that he had syphilis before he got married. Capone got out of the gang life for a little while until his father died of a heart attack on November 14, 1920. After the death of his father, he resumed his relationship with John Torrio (Bergreen 57). Torrio then decided to abandon the congested streets of Brooklyn for the open spaces in Chicago. He moved to Chicago because of the many opportunities for money to be made. Capone had threats out for his life so moved to Chicago to help John Torrio with his new operation (Stockdale 11-13).
John Torrio began to form a new empire in Chicago. After the prohibition laws were passed, Torrio saw an opportunity to make a lot of money so he set up warehouses and breweries to supply bars with illegal alcohol. Al soon became Torrio's assistant when he took over as manager of the Four Deuces, which was Torrio's headquarters in the Leevee area. Torrio started an operation in Cicero because he could purchase the entire city government and police departments. He paid off all the officials, political leaders, and even the...
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