What Were Some Of The Features Of Gangster Life During The Prohibition Years In America?


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Every city in the US had gangsters. These were people who 'manufactured, sold or/and carried alcohol liquors for beverage purposes' which was illegal during Prohibition.

Tommy Gun

The main weapon of the gangsters was the Tommy Gun. It was an early sub-machine gun made by General Thompson in 1920.

Frank Vincent with a Tommy gun in “Chicago Overcoat”.


Gangsters ran and drank in speakeasies, which were illegal bars that fed the demand for alcohol. Most had a pass word so people could get in. New York had 30,000 speakeasies by 1926.


Gangster cars were based on World War I vehicles. Al Capone had a V8 Cadillac weighing seven tons. Gangsters could fix or bribe various officials who might stand in their way. Big Bill Thomson, the mayor of Chicago, was bribed a lot by the gangsters.

Al Capone's Cadillac


The bootlegging industry involved many people made their own alcohol at home. Some drinks were lethal and any amount of alcohol could be put in. The industry killed about 5,000 people each year. Gambling was a big part of the gangsters lives. They did this when drinking in the speakeasies and sold tickets for the numbers game in the street to make money, but gave nobody a chance to win.

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