Mafia 2 Essay, Research Paper
Introduction- Power, money, and honor are three important values in American society. Nowhere are these three values more important, however, than to the American Mafia.
Thesis – This paper will inform the reader of what the Mafia is, famous mobsters in the Mafia, and mob moneymakers.
I Breakdown of Mafia
A. General Mafia Terms
B. History of the Mafia
II Famous Mobsters
A. Al Capone
B. Frank Costello
C. John Gotti
III The Mob Moneymakers
B. Loan Sharking
Conclusion – In conclusion, the Mafia is made up of “families” or gangs led by bosses who organize crime in order to make money. Three of the most famous bosses include Al Capone, Frank Costello and John Gotti. These three men were famous mobsters and famous money makers. For a while some people refused to admit that there was a Mafia in America, but this evidence proves the power and strength of the Mafia in America.
Power, money, and honor are three important values in American society. Nowhere are these three values more important, however, than to the American Mafia. The Mafia is a “structured organization with crime families, an order based on a leader or boss, an underboss or two . . ., a number of capos or lieutenants, and then a group of soldiers” Sifakis (207). The Mafia became leaders in organized crime and that’s how it made money and gained power.
First of all, in order to understand the rest of the paper, the reader must first understand some general terms associated with the Mafia. The terms Mafia and mob are often used interchangeably. The term laundering refers to a way to make money that was earned illegally look as though it was earned legitimately to the government. An example of how the mob launders money would be to buy a string of car washes, report they are washing cars, and then spend some of their illegitimate money. Another term used in reference to the Mafia is hitmobile. A hitmobile is a “mob car for assassination missions” Sifakis (154). It has a button to push that will cause guns to come down. A hitmobile makes it easy for the Mafia to kill people. Money laundering and hitmobile are some general Mafia terms.
Equally important as knowing terms is knowing a little bit about the history of the Mafia. The Mafia originated in Sicily in the 1600’s. It was created to establish manliness. They unofficially ruled west Sicily in the 1800’s and early 1900’s. The mob appeared in America during Prohibition in the 1920’s. After Prohibition the mob just stayed around. The mob used violence to gain respect, but the most successful mobsters were also shrewd businessmen.
An illustration of this is the most famous and most successful mobster ever, Alphonse Capone. The young Al Capone used a great deal of violence, but as he matured a bit he turned into a shrewd criminal executive. Sifakis put it best when he said “…by the time he was 26 Capone was transformed from a mindless killer into a shrewd criminal executive…” (60). He unofficially owned Chicago because he pretty much had everyone on his payroll. He had over 1,000 experienced gunmen and most of the police on his payroll. Although he was a killer, he apparently had a lot of honor in other ways. He would always back up his buddies and they would back him up as well. Even though Capone was the most famous mobster, there are others too.
Frank Costello, for example, was also a famous mobster. Some called him the prime minister of the underworld. One of the stereotypes about famous mobsters is that they are always very well dress. Frank Costello certainly fit that stereotype. He always had to look good. At one time his lawyer told him to dress less snazzy at trial, but Frank wouldn’t do it. Frank Costello was a well-rounded mobster. He was a murder mastermind, a good crime strategist, a gambler, and an ex-bootlegger. He would buy political favors from lots of politicians. Costello had more political pull than any other mobster. He referred to the judges as “my boys” Sifakis (91). Frank was one of the older mob bosses, where as John Gotti is a newer famous mob boss.
John Gotti is sometimes even called the new Godfather. Gotti became trusted early on by the Gambino family. Just eight days after the old leader died, John Gotti took over as the new boss. By 1985 he was the most powerful mob boss at the time. He will probably continue to be a very powerful boss; at least according to Sifakis “…the most important godfather in American crime through the 1990’s will be John Gotti…” (143). In the same way as Al Capone, John Gotti was very honorable. An example of this is “While others tried to shoo a homeless man away from his car, John rebuked them and gave the man $50!” John Gotti (www). Gotti, Costello, and Capone were all very successful mobsters.
In order for them to be successful they had to make money. One big moneymaker for the mob was Prohibition. During the early 1920’s Congress made it illegal to make, sell, or transport intoxicating beverages. The way the Mafia made money during this period was simple. They would make,transport, and sell liquor. Amendment 18 was making it easy for the mob to make money at that time. The liquor business for the Mafia lasted until 1932 when the amendment was repealed.
After Prohibition the mob had to find new ways of making money. Gambling and loan sharking, in that order, are the two biggest money makers for the Mafia. The Mafia owns casinos and skims money off them. Mafia loan sharks lend money to people at outrageous interest rates. For example, sometimes the Mafia would lend money to people at 20 percent interest per week. If the borrower does not pay the interest or pay off the loan at the appointed time, then violence is used against him.. Even though gambling and loan sharking are good money makers for the mob, so is hijacking.
Hijacking is intercepting a truckload of something and selling it. Hijacking was especially popular during Prohibition. The mob would hijack other bootleggers’ truckloads of liquor and then sell it. These days the mob will hijack cigarette deliveries and sell them on the street. Hijacking is also a good moneymaker for the mob.
In conclusion, the Mafia is made up of “families” or gangs led by bosses who organize crime in order to make money. Three of the most famous bosses include Al Capone, Frank Costello and John Gotti. These three men were famous mobsters and famous money makers. For a while some people refused to admit that there was a Mafia in America, but this evidence proves the power and strength of the Mafia in America.
Works Cited (Alphabetical)
Sifakis, Carl. The Mafia Encyclopedia. Facts on File, Inc. 1987
“John Gotti.” http://www.gotti.com/johngotti.html