The life and accomplishments of Al Capone during the prohibition era in the 1920s.

Essay by ChristaStarHigh School, 12th gradeA+, November 2002

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During the prohibition era of the 1920's, if one wasn't an enemy of Alphonse (Al) "Scarface" Capone, was he, in many eyes, a hero? Due to his savvy street smarts and the corrupt rebellion of the decade, Al Capone was not only a popular commentary of the time, but is now a legend. His classic boy from the ghetto turned generous multi-millionaire story only adds to the heroism seen in this most famous Chicago mobster. Chicago's industries, open spaces and four seasons were an enormous magnet for the 19th century Europeans looking for a home and opportunity. The frontier Chicago grew into a wonderful collection of ethnic neighborhoods - Irish, Italian, Russian, Greek, German, Polish and others. In many of these communities, making beer and liquor at home was as much a tradition as it was an effort to compete with licensed distilleries and breweries. At least until 1920. With the enactment of the 18th Amendment to the U.S.

Constitution, it was no longer legal to manufacture or sell alcoholic beverages anywhere in this county for all practical purposes. That is definitely not to say it stopped going on however. In spite of the law barring manufacture, the drinking of alcoholic beverages remained as popular as ever. Just as today, the liquor industry is incredibly lucrative. The opportunity to profit from the manufacture, distribution and sale of alcohol was more than many Chicagoans could resist, so they enthusiastically got in the business. The opportunity to sell alcohol or to provide protection in various neighborhoods were valuable rights, and the competition for them was fierce. The rackets spawned by enactment of the Prohibition Amendment were enormous, and the city of Chicago was not about to miss out on cashing in on these illegal doings. Many of the separate mobs of the...