18 Oct 2022


Politics and Organized Crime: How They are Connected

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Academic level: College

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The motivations as well as the demographic composition of Irish immigrants have declined over decades now. However, between 16th and 18th centuries, America witnessed the arrival of thousands of Europeans immigrants especially from Ireland. Thousands of Irish immigrants began sailing into America by the 18th century and by the beginning of the American Revolution, more than 250,000 Irishmen had settled in major cities such as New Jersey, New York and Western seaboard. The Irishmen mainly worked in factories that had grown so fast due to industrial revolution. Following their huge numbers, the Irish immigrants began to rise to political prominence in early 20th century, finding salvation in their growing numbers, unbreakable unity as well as their immutable right to vote. Several Irish social groups as well as organizations emerged and gave the Irish people a sense of belonging (Siegel, 2016). 

As cities expanded and their challenges grew swiftly, the political environment changed. The politicians had to change their way of doing business to help manage the big cities. This led to the rise of political machines that consisted of a county committee, election district captains as well as party loyalist. The machines engaged in various illegal activities including granting jobs, receiving cash from criminal activities, and government contracts to citizens or immigrant that offered them favors. However, after 1900, the political machine began to lose their significance after the federal government replaced party patronage with civil service systems (Kadi et al., 2016). 

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Though variations of organized crimes are dated back in the ages throughout the human societies, America witnessed a spurring moment of organized crime back in early 1919. During this era, the United States carried out the 18 th Amendment to the American Constitution that saw the emergence of prohibition Era. By early 1920, the Volstead Act was put in place, forbidding the sale of intoxicating beverages that contained more than 0.5% alcohol. As a result, in early 1920, organized crime gained fame, with many youth engaging in criminal activities especially in cities such as Chicago. This law unsurprisingly, led to the rise of alcohol consumption along with other criminal activities such as underground peddlers, gambling, illegal activities and prostitution among the American. They formed groups that intimidated and infiltrated the policemen. Furthermore, the groups monitored the merchants across the city and manipulated the police by bribing them with huge sums of money to protect the criminals from the law (Buccellato & hoopla 2016). 

The subject of organized crime entails numerous, diverse and complex social and political aspects. The 18 TH Amendment of the constitution that led to the prohibition of production, marketing, transportation, importation as well as consumption of alcohol saw many Americans living in both Chicago and New York City saw crash into poverty. As a result, many people opted to engage in criminal activities as a way of survival leading to an era of organized crime. Chicago was a greenhorn city compared to New York which was more industrialized. Therefore, the organized crime organization became well funded compared to their counterparts in Chicago (Siegel, 2016). 

In addition, the mafias in New York had a stronger influence on their political leaders and the police than those in Chicago due to their early exposure to industrialization. On the contrary, both cities experienced high level of corruption that allowed the growth of black market that promoted the sale of illegal items. Both cities were also dominated by immigrants especially from Europe that were jobless due to limited opportunities. This also led to the spread of illegal indulgence such as prostitution and black market businesses. The police and politicians especially from Chicago became part of the gangster groups, promoting corruption and illegal activities. 


Buccellato, J. A., & hoopla digital. (2016). Early organized crime in Detroit: Vice, corruption and the rise of the Mafia . United States: Arcadia Publishing Inc. 

Kadi, Ahmed Ahmed, & Lalaoui, Yaakoub. (2016). American Gangs of the Roaring Twenties, Al Capone and Chicago Mobs

Siegel, L. J. (2016). Criminology: The core . Boston, Mass: Wadsworth. 

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StudyBounty. (2023, September 14). Politics and Organized Crime: How They are Connected.


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