Al Capone: Revision 0730 HIST 2020-010 4-23-07 Many gangsters have made it in the history books the past 100 years: Billy the Kid, and John Gotti just to name a few. But none matched the notoriety that Al Capone had. Al Capone, short for Alphonsus Capone his birth name, was born on January 17, 1899 in Brooklyn, New York. # Capone grew up with a troubled childhood. After dropping at of school in the sixth grade, Capone got in several gangs of ruffians around town, but nothing too serious.
Capone got sick of it and then became a member of the Five Points gang, led by Frankie Yale. After his stint with Yale’s gang, he was sent to Johnny Torrio’s gang, called the James Street Gang. From 1925 to 1931, Capone and his gangs ruled the streets of Chicago with their vicious gangster ways. # Growing up in the early 1900’s, you could say Capone had a rough time with it. Torrio soon noticed the talent this young ruffian had and convinced him to with to Chicago to work with his uncle who was one of the cities main concerns with his prostitutes and gambling rings.
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Al Capone was soon to be Chicago’s, better yet America’s, most notorious gangster and greatest symbol of illegal activities which prevented the city’s growth because it was known as the lawless city. Capone’s soon to be mega-network came through Torrio’s business. They were the pioneers in the selling of illegal alcohol. Capone had power and wealth because he sold illegal alcohol, moonshine, throughout Chicago. After Torrio was shot and badly wounded by a rival gang, this left the rising star, Capone, to take over the thriving business that they had started. Now, Capone was on top the of world at the tender age of only 26.
Although vicious, Capone did have somewhat of a good heart when he helped homeless people in Chicago with the first soup kitchen in 1929 after the stock market crash. # Although Capone did help starving people in Chicago, he was a nuisance that needed to be stopped. This, to an extent, as was why the FBI and many other law enforcement agencies were formed. Several law enforcement agencies were built around the area because of crime, and we benefit from it today because if it weren’t for a big time mobster like Capone, we might not have had the law enforcement agencies that we have today.
Capone’s image was seen not only through the eyes of Americans but through the eyes of the world and. People all over the globe thought he was just another thug gangster involved in organized crime. Capone had never done any major time for the crimes he did. Capone walked on water in Chicago, he was so powerful. That’s probably why he decided to open the soup kitchens to get people to like him more. Although this was a good act of respect from Capone, the respect sure enough came tumbling down after his St. Valentines Day Massacre. On Feb. 14, 1929, the St.
Valentines Day Massacre made a major impact on the U. S. because it was the most vicious violence they had ever witnessed. # Capone had an alibi for the murder, which he always did. The St. Valentines Day Massacre started when Capon’s gang tricked the Moran gang into thinking it was a police raid when really it was Capone’s gang dressed like police. # As the men were staring at the wall scared of being arrested, the gang broke out with a lead shower of bullets into the backs of the seven members. Obviously, Capone had set this up to take down the rival gangs to strengthen his regime.
Although Capone took out an essential part of the gang, Bugs, the leader escaped after seeing the police uniforms, thinking he was getting busted. After the Massacre, Capone and his wife Mary and their children moved to Florida because of the endangerment that Capone had put on them for not killing Bugs. After the Massacre, Capone soon came known as the gangster of the 20’s. After the events of the St. Valentines Day massacre, Capone’s gang received more publicity than any other gang had received before this time. After getting out publicly in Chicago, it was soon on a national spotlight.
Capone was now a target of writers all across America. In 1929 While Capone was called before a grand jury in Chicago, little did he know about the powerful people that were teaming up to try to take down this criminal. Capone thought that is was about all of the murders he had committed and so forth. Capone left a mark from this massacre that will be remembered by the United States forever and will sketch his name in as one the most ruthless gangster’s of all time. Capone’s impact of the nation at this time was monumental and glamorized by certain people in his society.
Capone’s actions and organizations were getting out of control and soon had to be reckoned with. His way affected people in the Chicago area because of his bad gangster activity as well with his soup kitchens which was one of the slim positive influences he had. In 1930, Capone’s empire slowly but surely flourished after many people working long and hard found a flaw with him, tax evasion. Al Capone was tried on October 17, 1931, when he was finally imprisoned for five of 22 counts of tax evasion from 1925-1929. # Everyone thought that you didn’t pay taxes if you earned the money illegally until Capone made an example for everybody.
In May, 1932, Capone was sent to Atlanta to serve his 11-year sentence. As well as those charges, he also didn’t file tax returns for 1928 and 1929. Capone had to pay $50,000 in fines for the counts of tax evasion, a misdemeanor for not filing tax returns, as well as violating prohibition laws. He also had $7,692 in court cost. # Capone had no other choice but to throw in the flag. His life as a gangster was over. In May 1932, Capone started his 11-year sentence in Atlanta which was one of the roughest prisons in America at the time.
While in prison, Capone managed to smuggle in a couple thousand dollars and paid the guards off while furnishing his cell with a mirrors, typewriter, rugs, and a set of the Encyclopedia Britannica. # Capone was still in control because of the street credit that he obviously still had. Capone was soon taken to Alcatraz where he would be monitored frequently. Alcatraz wasn’t any walk in the park. It was highly monitored where Capone was nothing else but another inmate. Capone was helpless now. Although helpless, Capone did cash in on good behavior and was granted some time off his sentence for good behavior.
Capone, again, gave up on the rebellious life and started acting the way the he was meant to from the start. Capone got along so well with everyone that he actually had time cut off for bad behavior. Although Capone was calm himself, he did get into several fights with other inmates but none proved to be instigated by him. While working down in the prison basement, Capone got stabbed by another inmate while standing in line to get a haircut. He was sent to the penitentiary hospital were he stayed for several days soon to be released with a minor wound. Capone was finally released from Alcatraz on January 6, 1939.
He then headed to the Federal Correctional Institution at Terminal Island in California where he stayed until November 16 of that year to serve his one-year misdemeanor charge. # Capone returned to his mansion in Palm Island, Florida, after his release. The big, bad mobster from the 20’s and 30’s was slowly deteriorating. His overall body strength, weight, and mindset were all dropping at a rapid pace. Capone had gotten syphilis when he was younger and never did anything about it which led to dementia. On January 21, 1947, Capone had a apoplectic stroke and was out for several days. Finally regaining consciousness, Capone the suffered from pneumonia three days later and went into a cardiac arrest which was probably all linked to his syphilis. Capone was buried in Mount Olivet Cemetery in Chicago between his parents but then was moved to Mount Carmel Cemetery in Hillside, Illinois. # Capone was the pioneer of crime in America. We have our Jesse James and such but this was a different criminal. He was smart. Smart enough to get away from murder trials but unlucky enough and rich enough to become a victim of his own success. “Scarface” will always be remembered as the greatest mobster in the history of America.
Bibliography “Al Capone. ” Chicago Historical Society. http://www. chicagohs. org/history/capone. html [assessed April 14, 2007]. “Al “Scarface” Capone. ” Alcatraz History. http://www. alcatrazhistory. com/cap1. htm [assessed April 14, 2007]. “Al Capone. ” Wikipedia. http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Al_Capone [assessed April 14, 2007]. “Al Capone. Made in America. ” Crime Library. http://www. crimelibrary. com/gangsters_outlaws/mob_bosses/capone/index_1. htm [assessed April 14, 2007]. “Famous Cases. ” FBI History. http://www. fbi. gov/libref/historic/famcases/capone/capone. htm [assessed April 14, 2007].