Criminal activities of the Roaring Twenties
The Roaring Twenties were aptly named: they were indeed roaring with music and dance, but also with gangsters and criminals. The Great Depression having affected everybody, all were in need of money and ready to do whatever it took to get some. This is why the Roaring Twenties were a decade of bootlegging, bank robbing, and corruption.
The first important criminal industry of the 1920's was bootlegging. Bootlegging consisted in illegally supplying or producing liquor. When the prohibition was enforced during the winter of 1920, its original goal was to "lower crime and corruption, reduce social problems, lower taxes needed to support prisons and poorhouses, and improve health and hygiene in America" (www.1920-30.com). Instead, it lead to an increasingly growing demand of the now illicit substance, which was satisfied by bootleggers, who illegally supplied alcohol for a very high price. Most were ready to pay more for a drink; they didn’t think obtaining and drinking alcohol would be immoral because it was legal just a few years ago. Al Capone was the most famous smuggler and bootlegger of the 1920's, as he was the owner of several illegal bars which allowed him to "[brew, distil and distribute] beer and liquor" (www.fbi.gov). People started to smuggle alcohol into the United States from across seas or from their northern neighbour, Canada. Those who couldn't afford Canadian alcohol eventually started producing their own liquor and became bootleggers as well; they were wiling to sell their alcohol to anyone who had the money to pay for it. This resulted in an extremely strong liquor called Moonshine, which often contained impurities, sometimes even toxins that could lead to the death of the buyer. The development of bootlegging had numerous consequences on the populations; for instance, alcoholism increased, the number of illegal bars and saloons sky-rocketed, and other crimes such as bank robbing were overlooked...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document