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Mafia. What does this word mean? The actual members of the Mafia aren't even sure where the word first originated or what it really means. One of the theories as to where the word came from is from Sicily, where people would yell " Morte alla Francia, Italia anela!" (Death to France, Italy groans!), therefore forming the acronym MAFIA. Others claim the word derived from the battle cry of rebels who slaughtered thousands of Frenchmen after a French soldier raped a Palermo woman on her wedding day. Their slogan echoed her mother's cry, "Ma fia, Ma fia" (my daughter my daughter). There are other less "glamorous" stories as to where the word originally formed. The most likely reasoning says that it came from the Arabic word mahias, meaning bold man. The American Mafia has become infamous due to its leaders, its method of operation, and its impact on the economy through illegal means.

In 1903, Nicola Gentile, a native of Siculiana, Sicily, finding no occupation in his village, came to America as a stowaway on a ship to soon begin his life full of crime. Although barely able to read and write, he believed that he possessed an uncommon strength of will to be sinister. This trait would soon help him to rise to the high rank in the Mafia. After arriving in America, he was amazed at the grand vastness of the buildings and streets he was surrounded by, but moreover, by the attitude of the new people around him. They walked briskly, giving him the impression that all had an urgent mission to perform.

"What a contrast with the inhabitants of my town, "he commented, "People who, when they walked, studied their manner of walking so that their slow strut made them appear solemn, with the thumb of...