Era of Gangsters
· Organised crime increased during the 1920’s and gangsters emerged especially in the city Chicago
· Gangsters bribed police officers, judges, politicians and businesses
· Al Capone rose to become Chicago’s chief gangster due to his connection with a crook Johnny Torrio(leader of the 5 points gang). He rose through his ranks by handling Torrio’s operations - moves to chicago to work with Torrio, partners withTorrios Saloons, Gambling houses and Brothels and then takes over operations when Torrio leaves Chicago.
· Gangsters attempted to take control of local politics because during the time of prohibition, gangsters like Al Capone smuggled illegal alcohol
· Eliot Ness battled against Capone
· Capone had killed more than 200 of his rivals
· Capone nicknamed ‘Scarface’
· He was later arrested by Eliot Ness in 1931 for acts against Prohibition and income tax evasions and was sentenced to 11 years imprisonment
Era of Gangsters.
VALENTINE’S DAY MASSACRE
· Al Capone’s gang murdered his rivals the North Side Gang, while he was hiding so he could not hurt
· One of the people who were shot, were rushed to the hospital and when asked about the shooting, he kept quiet and died later
· Pictures were shown of the shootings and shocked the public and ruined Al Capone’s reputation bringing starting the end of his reign of Chicago
Many thought Capone as a glamorous person - he was the first to open soup kitches after the Wall Street crash, ordered stores to give clothes and food to the needy at his own expense. However after this incident, many Americans realised that the Gangsters, and Capone inparticular were not the glamorous characters they had imagined.
Government Corruption and Scandal
· In the early part of the 20th century large oil reserves were discovered in Elk Hills, California and Teapot Dome, Wyoming
· In 1912 President William Taft decided that the government owned the land and its’ oil reserves saying that it should be set aside for the use of the United States Navy
· On 4th June 1920, Congress passed a bill the stated that the secretary of the Navy would have the power ‘to conserve, develop, use and operate the same in his discretion, directly or by contract, lease or otherwise, and to use, store, exchange or sell the oil and gas products
· In March of 1921, President Warren Harding appointed Albert Fall as Secretary of the Interior
· When Warren Harding was made President of the USA, he appointed his friends to high positions e.g. Harry Daugherty: Attorney General, Albert Fall: Minister of Interior, Charles Forbes: Chief of Veterans Bureau (the President’s friends and advisers became known as the ‘Ohio Gang’)
Government Corruption and Scandal Continued.
· During President Harding’s rule over the USA, a total of $250 million was stolen from government programs
· Daugherty and Forbes were involved in an illegal bootlegging scam, (Forbes was convicted of fraud and bribery and sentenced to two years in prison
· In 1923, Harding died and Vice-President Calvin Coolidge took over
Teapot Dome Scandal
· Harry Sinclair (Mammoth Oil Corp) and Edward L.Doheny (Pan-American Petroleum) asked if they could drill oil in Elk Hills and Teapot, but the Secretary of Interior Albert Fall said no, but Edward L. Doheny and Sinclair bribed him with gifts and money worth $400,000 and he accepted
· In 1927, Fall was found guilty of accepting the $400,000 bribe from Doheny and Sinclair. He was forced to resign from office and spent one year in jail
· Some details were published in newspapers and President Harding defended the actions of Fall saying that he had approved them. When asked about the secrecy of the arrangements, Fall replied that the national security required it. Doheny similarly claimed patriotism and security to justify his actions.
· A senate investigation was carried out and dragged on for several years. In 1927 the Supreme Court ruled that the land was naval property and should not have been leased to private oil companies
· Albert Fall was found guilty of bribary in 1929, fined $100,000 and sentenced 1 year imprisonment . Harry Sinclair was charged with disapproval and received a short sentence for tampering with the jury. Edward Doheny was found not guilty in 1930 of the attempt to bribe Fall.