Published on January 7, 2008
Slide2: Howard Abadinsky Eighth Edition Slide3: HISTORY OF ORGANIZED CRIME THE ROBBER BARONS: THE ROBBER BARONS An early generation of unscrupulous American business entrepreneurs, including: John Jacob Astor Cornelius Vanderbilt Daniel Drew James Fisk Jay Gould Russell Sage Leland Stanford John D. Rockefeller IMMIGRATION andURBAN MACHINE POLITICS: IMMIGRATION and URBAN MACHINE POLITICS OC’s roots: pre-Prohibition patron-client networks known as the “political machines” of urban America. 1820–1850: Immigration into the U.S. rose dramatically, mainly in urban areas. Faced with hostility and discrimination, immigrants found they possessed at least one highly-valued commodity: their votes. Slide6: 1840–1900: About 4.75 million Irish immigrants entered the U.S. and: settled mostly in urban areas; joined the Democratic Party; and swarmed into local politics. Irish political success: coincided with lower crime rates among Irish immigrants (until Prohibition); was advanced by their ability to speak English, their knowledge of government, and the timing of their arrival in the U.S. The Irish connected in the saloon, a welcome refuge from slum dwellings. Slide7: THE SALOON and the MACHINE Saloons became neighborhood centers and bases for political activity. Cities were divided into wards or districts, further divided into electoral precincts. Saloon keepers influenced customers and votes—they delivered precincts, and thus controlled wards or districts. By 1890, most big-city Democratic political machines—including New York’s Tammany Hall—were controlled by Irish bosses. Slide8: UNDERWORLD and UPPERWORLD Business interests promoted corruption and government inefficiency to plunder the treasury. Business and political figures took money and personal services from underworld figures. In return, political figures offered only token interference to underworld criminal activity. Bribery of police officials was common. Patterns of corruption-reform-corruption-reform mixed sham investigations with public hearings. Slide9: Business leaders called for reform to stop paying graft while keeping the favors graft bought. Nativism motivated reformers and tied urban immigrants to political machines. The most successful nativist campaign prohibited alcoholic beverages favored by immigrants. Scott (1981) calls the American Mafia Family Network a ‘natural system’ that includes: : Scott (1981) calls the American Mafia Family Network a ‘natural system’ that includes: the boss (paterfamilias) who is the patron; an underboss (sottocapo); a counselor/advisor (consigliere); captains (capiregime) who are clients of the boss and patrons to their own underlings; members or soldiers (soldati) who are clients of the captains; and other non-OC affiliated clients of the boss. Slide11: PROHIBITION Temperance movements date from the early days of the republic. Organizations included: Prohibition Party Women’s Christian Temperance Union Anti-Saloon League National prohibition was measure passed by rural America against urban America. 1919: Eighteenth Amendment ratified and Volstead Act passed. ORGANIZED CRIME: ORGANIZED CRIME Prohibition changed relationships among vice entrepreneurs, gang leaders, and politicians. Pre-1920 political boss was patron because he provided protection from law enforcement. The violence of Prohibition made physical protection more important. Gang bosses controlled the violence. Prohibition turned gangs into empires through syndication—unprecedented cooperation between regional gang leaders. ORGANIZED CRIME in NEW YORK: ORGANIZED CRIME in NEW YORK Tammany Hall, synonymous with the New York Democratic Party: Created district leaders and precinct captains in each assembly district. Extorted funds from vice entrepreneurs. Took 6% kickback from all city employees. Used funds to dispense favors and social services. This established a firm tie-in between criminals and politicians. Slide14: The Irish dominated the city’s police force, a corrupt and brutal agency that was, effectively, an adjunct of Tammany Hall. 1902–1924: Charles Murphy ruled Tammany. • He ended open gambling and prostitution. • He withdrew total immunity for gangsters. • He cut down the power of the police. Murphy created a modern organization to be a conduit between politicians and organized gamblers and brothel owners. Arnold Rothstein became that conduit. JEWISH OC in NEW YORK: JEWISH OC in NEW YORK Arnold Rothstein was single most important organizer and innovator in Jewish OC. Notorious for alleged involvement in the infamous “Black Sox” baseball scandal, the fixing of the 1919 World Series. Other key Jewish OC figures include: Dutch Schultz Louis “Lepke” Buchalter Meyer Lansky Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel
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