Alphonse Capone Al Capone, born Alphonse Capone, was one of the most if not the most notorious gangsters in the history of the United States. He was well known for smuggling alcohol into the states during the prohibition in which alcohol was banned. Al Capone quickly became a “celebrity” among the people in Chicago where he ran his operation. Alphonse Capone was born on January 17, 1899 in Brooklyn New York to two Italian immigrants. Even when he was young he never did like following the rules and he hated authority figures, while in school he beat one of his female teachers and after getting yelled at by his principle he quit school.
So Capone joined a gang led by Johnny Torrio and Lucky Luciano . December 1918, Capone killed a man in an argument. Instead of facing the charges, he called his old friend Torrio, who was now in Chicago. Capone moved to Chicago. (The New Encyclopedia Britannica, 833) Capone brought his rough style of dealing with people to Chicago. He worked as a bartender at Torrio’s club, he broke the arms, legs, and even skulls of those he evicted from the club. But Torrio did not bring Capone to Chicago to beat up drunks. As Torrio’s right hand man, he got a job killing “Big Jim” Colosimo, who ran Chicago’s underground.
After the passing of prohibition Torrio was constantly trying to get Colosimo to make underground drinking establishments. Tired of hearing no, he had him killed by Capone on May 11, 1920. (MysteryNet. com) Torrio became boss of Chicago, and Capone became the manager of alcohol for the city. Al Capone became head of the Chicago mafia after Torrio was wounded in an assassination attempt and stepped down from the head spot in 1925. (Thompson-Gale,33) Throughout his reign he ran the streets of Chicago with his mob.
When his mob was at its height, Capone had city aldermen, mayors, legislators, governors, congressmen, and over half the Chicago police force on his payroll. (The New Encyclopedia Britannica, 833) In 1929 he made his biggest mistake by ordering the shooting of Bugs Moran, his rival, on February 14. In what is known as the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, Capone’s men killed a group seven people, but Moran was not in the group. (MysteryNet. com) By now, the IRS had been gathering tax evasion information on Capone for some time through a hired agent, Eddie O’Hare.
On November 24, Al Capone was sentenced to 11 years in Federal prison, fined $50,000, charged $7692 for court costs, and $215,000 in back taxes for tax evasion. (Thompson-Gale, 33) He was released in 1939, after serving seven years and paying all of his back taxes. His mental and physical condition had severely deteriorated and he entered Baltimore hospital for brain treatment immediately after his release. He died of a stroke and pneumonia on January 25, 1947, having killed Eddie O’Hare before he died. Al Capone changed American society in the 1920’s in a few ways.
He sold illegal liquor to the public when they wanted it most. He also showed America just how powerful average people can be when they come together for a common cause. In this case it happened to be illegal and led to the death of many but Al Capone’s legacy will always be remembered.
- Thompson-Gale, Tom Pendergast and Sara Pendergast, editors. 2003 The New Encyclopedia Britannica, Volume
- Jacob E. Safra, Chairman of the Board, Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc MysteryNet. com, Mystery. Net, and TheCase. com are trademarks of MysteryNet. © 1998, 2009 MysteryNet and Newfront Productions, Inc.