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Alphonse Capone was born on January 17, 1899. He grew up in rough neighborhood in Brooklyn, NY where he would attend school only up to the sixth grade, when dropped out. Capone got his nickname Scarface from a knife attack by the brother of a woman whom Capone had insulted. The attack left him with three scars across his face and a new nickname.
Capone joined his first gang when he became part of the James Street Gang, headed by the well-known Johnny Torrio. In 1920, upon the request of Torrio, Capone went to work for Johnnys Uncle, Big Jim Colosimo. Colosimo was the head of the largest prostitution and gambling ring in Chicago.
After the murder of Colosimo, Torrio took over his uncles empire, but he was forced to retire after an attempt on his life. So Capone took over and by the time he was 26, he was managing more than a thousand employees, each one of whom he demanded full commitment and loyalty.
In 1929, Al Capones most famous escapade occurred and was to become known as the St. Valentines Day massacre. The event took place at the bootlegging headquarters of George Bugs Moran, Capones latest rival. Five police officers walked into the garage, lined up Morans men, and shot them down.
While these men appeared to be police officers, all five were really some of Capones hitmen.
Capone was able time and time again to avoid criminal charges, and became a true racketeer, an art of its own. Ironically, the government finally was able to put Scarface behind bars on charges of federal income tax evasion. He was sentenced to eleven years in prison. Eleven years that couldnt even be saved by the four million-dollar bribe offered by Capones attorneys.
In 1934 Capone was transferred to Alcatraz, and in 1939 he was paroled. Suffering from syphilis that had begun to drive him insane, Capone knew he could no longer run his Chicago empire, so he retired to his Miami Beach mansion. The exact place where on January 25, 1947 Alphonse Scarface Capone died.
In 1920 when prohibition became law, a large portion of the population still wanted alcohol. But not many were willing to put themselves at risk to sell it to others. Some did take advantage of prohibition, but none more than Al Capone. With the rise of the telephone, the increase of automobiles, the invention of the Thompson machine guns Capone was able to create an illegal empire like no other.
When in came to bootlegging during the time of prohibition, Capone knew how to get to people, and how to make a huge profit out of it. Another thing Capone was good at was avoiding the law. Whether he blackmailed someone or he talked his way out of it, he simply did it. He also seemed to be able to always make himself seem like the good guy.
I make my money by supplying a public demand. If I break the law, my customers, who number hundreds of the best people in Chicago, are just as guilty as I am. The only difference between us is that I sell and they buy. Everybody calls me a racketeer. I call myself a businessman. When I sell liquor, its bootlegging. When my patrons serve it on a silver tray on Lake Shore Drive, its hospitality.
Capones bootlegging business widely expanded the availability of alcohol. Capones words often made him look smart and the government look like fools. More than anything though, Capone built up one of the largest empires of his time, and by doing so, he contributed to the eventual repealing of prohibition.
I think that if Capone hadnt been there to do what he did, a lot of things would have been different. First off, the rise of mobs probably wouldnt have been as great, for his mobs and style was so original and set a huge example. Also, the whole idea of competitiveness among illegal businesses was so high at his point that it sent out a message of hatred and threats towards rivals. One thing that Capones gang did along with others is they blackmailed. If any body got into someone like Capones business, they were either blackmailed to keep shut, or they were murdered. Capone probably also blackmailed his way out of prison time on more than one occasion. Through all of these Capones actions simply helped towards the eventual repealing of prohibition.
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