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The Mafia Used Prohibition to Become Successful The Mafia was an organization rooted in defiance of the government Michael Cavendish 78 On January 16 1919 the 18th amendment was ratified prohibiting the importing exporting manufacturing and distribution of alcohol Ten months later the Volstead Act was passed to enforce the law The Volstead Act gave the United States Government the right to enforce Prohibition The United States Government became an easy target of the Mafia by trying to enforce the 18th amendment and bootlegging or the selling of illegal alcohol was born The unions were overtaken and as a result distribution to the Mafia owned illegal bars known as speak easies could occur Fred J Cook 52 Any man or organization opposing the Mafia would lose his life Henceforth the selling of protection grew Instead of a semi - feudal exclusively Sicilian association the Mafia was Americanized to reflect the diverse character and lush opportunities of the adopted land It grew more flexible more cooperative and above all more like a giant American cooperation Because of the Prohibition Era the Mafia flourished throughout the United States of AmericaSoon after the first Sicilian Mafia dons arrived they took over local crime and converted it into alcohol running operations In the Little Italys of New York Boston Philadelphia Louisiana Chicago Cleveland Detroit and other cities many households produced homemade wine and had their own little stills Put into steady production these distilleries poured out thousands of gallons of alcohol for the Mafia gangs to distribute At one point eighty percent of all Canadian whiskey production found its way overland or by sea into the United States of America With the Mafias deep-rooted clannishness hatred for the law brutality and talent for organization the Mafia ruled New Yorks Little Italy Anton Blok 27 Not only did the Mafia make its money through the illegal distribution of liquor but the gangsters also operated lotteries and took their
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