Moonshine During the Great Depression

Topics: Prohibition in the United States, Speakeasy, Moonshine Pages: 2 (913 words) Published: April 30, 2013
Notes on Smuggling moonshine during prohibition
- Enforcing the law proved almost impossible. Smuggling and bootlegging were widespread. Two New York agents, Izzie Einstein and Mo Smith, relied on disguises while staging their raids--once posing as man and wife. Their efforts were halted, however, after a raid on New York City's 21 trapped some of the city's leading citizens. In New York, 7,000 arrests for liquor law violations resulted in 17 convictions. Prohibition in the United States was a national ban on the sale, manufacture, and transportation of alcohol, in place from 1919 to 1933. Prohibition quickly produced bootleggers, speakeasies, moonshine, bathtub gin, and rum runners smuggling supplies of alcohol across state lines. In 1927, there were an estimated 30,000 illegal speakeasies--twice the number of legal bars before Prohibition. Many people made beer and wine at home. It was relatively easy finding a doctor to sign a prescription for medicinal whiskey sold at drugstores. Al Capone's Chicago organization reportedly took in $60 million in 1927 and had half the city's police on its payroll. Prohibition created a huge consumer market unmet by legitimate means. Organized crime filled that vacuum left by the closure of the legal alcohol industry. Homicides increased in many cities, partly as a result of gang wars, but also because of an increase in drunkenness.

Making liquor, however, was forbidden. Where did the speakeasies get alcohol? Certain "entrepreneurs" were eager to step into the gap. Organized crime was already a factor in large cities. Local thugs were making money with saloons, brothels, and gambling halls. Prohibition opened whole new vistas for those willing to break the law. The market for illegal liquor was huge. Supplying it became a big business. Neighborhood bosses hired mobs of underlings. The crime...
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