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FBI / J. Edgar Hoover

Prohibition and the FBI

J. Edgar Hoover
The Sources Page
Origin of the FBI
Prohibition and the FBI
"The Roaring Twenties"
Jay Gatsby
FBI 2004
Present Day FBI

How the FBI handled Prohibition

     During the 1920's the Eighteenth Amendment to the Constitiution was created in 1919 and it was Prohibition.  Prohibition outlawed the making, importing, and selling of alcohol in the United States.  Prohibition inspired the bootleggers to become causes of concern for the FBI.  The 1920's gansters were a challenge for the FBI because of their newer, better weapons and their faster automobiles.  The FBI was put in charge of bringing down the mobs because in many cases the mobs would take advantage of corrupt politicans and local police forces.  At its peak the Chicago mob had a yearly income of over $300 million (Schlesinger 37).
      Bootlegging was very popular because it was very easy to make a large amount of money quick.  J. Edgar Hoover once said, "American law enforcement had reached a crisis... Men and women who had engaged in every form of outlawing- even to mass murder- were assembled under a common banner, with the result that great numbers of criminals were ready and eager to take up new forms of lawbreaking of the most vicious sort" (Schlesinger 38).  Hoover said this after in 1929 it was stated that is was possible to get alcohol anywhere in the United States at any time regardless of Prohibition.  Prohibition was a difficult law for the FBI to enforce.

Schlesinger Jr., Arthur M. The Federal Bureau of Investigation. New York:
      Chelsea House Publishers, 1986.