The Great Gatsby and Prohibition

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There was two different names for the 1920s. The first one was the Roaring Twenties. the second name was known as the jazz age. Prohibition is the illegal sale of alcohol. In the illegal commodity, prohibition created the black market. Prohibition created a market that became a battleground between warring bootlegging factions. The number of crimes increased by twenty-four percent. That was only thirty major cities during the prohibition that people did a study on.

Prohibition was putting a ban on manufacturing, selling, or consuming alcohol.

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A bootlegger is someone manufactures, sells, or transports alcohol illegally.(katie van voorn) How people made big business in the 1920’s, was getting alcoholic beverages into hands of paying customers. An American lawyer, George Remus, was a bootlegger during the prohibition time period. George would much rather refer himself in third person after his rise to power in his early days of prohibition. George Continued to refer himself in third person until his death. . Remus was the king of bootlegging.

The kings of bootlegging was also known for an alcohol abstainer. When Remus was twenty-one, he bought his drug store. When he was a defense attorney, Remus was making well over one-half million dollars in today’s money. When prohibition started, millions of gallons of alcohol was in warehouses. It was private property. If someone had proper authorization, people could legally alcoholic beverages for many different reasons. Such as medicinal, scientific, or industrial purposes. George Remus was hoping to buy the entire stockpile for pre-prohibition alcohol.

The Woman’s Christian Temperance Union, and other organizations that supported prohibition, soon began to succeed in enacting local prohibition laws. Eventually the prohibition campaign was a national effort. The prohibition movements strength grew. The brewing industry was the most prosperous of the alcohol beverage industries. To extend the sale the beer, brewers had to extend the number of sold saloons. It was not uncommon to find a saloon for every 150 or 200 Americans, even those who did not drink alcohol.

The leaders of prohibition believed that once license to do business was removed from the liquor traffic, churches and reform organizations would talk to people and persuade Americans to give up alcohol. Some prohibition leaders looked forward to an educational campaign that would greatly expand once the drink businesses became illegal, and would eventually, in about thirty years, lead to a sober nation. Other prohibition leaders looked forward to vigorous enforcement of prohibition in order to eliminate supplies of beverage alcohol.

Prohibition started on 1920- December 5, 1933, because the temperance movement had popularized the belief that alcohol was the major cause of the most personal and social problems. Prohibition was seen as the solution to the nation’s poverty, crime, violence, and other ills. It did not outlaw the possession of alcohol in the United States. From the law of stopping Americans to stop drinking alcohol did not go that way. However, instead of americans stopping, Americans started making alcohol.

The noble experiment was undertaken to reduce crime and corruption, solve social problems, reduce the tax burden created by prisons and poorhouses, and improve health and hygiene in America. The experiment began with the signing of the eighteenth amendment. Webster dictionary defines prohibition as: A prohibiting, the forbidding by the law of the manufacture or sale of alcoholic liquors.

Prohibition in the United States did not start until January 1920. Any alcoholic beverages like win, beer or spirits Americans had stashed away in January 1920 were theirs to keep and enjoy in the privacy of their homes. Prohibition led to many more unintended consequences because of the cat and mouse nature of prohibition enforcement. Prohibition was a failure. Prohibition costed the federal government a total of eleven billion dollars lost tax revenue, while costing over three hundred million to enforce.

Bootlegging in The Great Gatsby

Bootlegging was important in the 1920’s because it grew into vast illegal empire. The reason was because widespread bribery. Evidence that was best available was to historians. According to historians, the 1920s was the decade that modernized America. It showed that alcoholic beverages declined dramatically under prohibition. In the early 1920’s, alcoholic beverages were about thirty percent of the pre-prohibition level. Consumption grew somewhat in the last years of prohibition, as illegal supplies of liquor increased and as a new generation of Americans disregarded the law and rejected the attitude of self-sacrifice that was part of the bedrock of the prohibition movement. However, it was a long time after repeal before consumption rates rose to their pre-prohibition levels. In that sense, prohibition “”worked.””

Another word for bootlegging is rum running. And this was when someone would try smuggling alcoholic beverages by transportation and this was forbidden by law. Smuggling was usually done to circumvent taxation or prohibition laws within a particular jurisdiction. Bootleggers would sell alcoholic beverages in violation of legislative. Bootleggers would make foreign made commercial liquor into the united states from Mexico and Canada borders and along the seacoast onto ships.

Barrett A. Silverstein from the article 1920s: A Decade of change mentioned that In the 1920 the average lifespan in the United States was about fifty-four years, whereas today it is about seventy-seven years. In 1920 the average time a student spent in school each year was 75 days, and today it is about one-hundred and eighty days. The first commercially licensed radio broadcast was heard on November Second.

People would call someone abootleggers because they hid their liquor bottles in their boots, so after that everyone just began calling the people who would smuggle alcohol bootleggers although they called them bootleggers, just because you call someone a bootlegger it does not necessarily mean that they are making or selling illicit liquor.

World War I helped turn the nation of prohibition into favor. Dry advocates argued that the barley use of brewing beer could be made into breed to feed American soldiers and war-ravaged Europeans, and they succeeded in winning wartime bans on strong drink. Anti-alcohol crusaders were often fueled by xenophobia, and the war allowed them to paint America’s largely German brewing industry as a threat. We have German enemies in this country, too, one temperance politician argued. And the worst of all our German enemies, the most treacherous, the most menacing, are Pabst, Schlitz, Blatz and Miller.

Along with creating an army of federal agents, the 18th Amendment and the Volstead Act stipulated that individual states should enforce Prohibition within their own borders. Governors resented the added strain on their public coffers, however, and many neglected to appropriate any money toward policing the alcohol ban. Maryland never even enacted an enforcement code, and eventually earned a reputation as one of the most stubbornly anti-Prohibition states in the Union. New York followed suit and repealed its measures in 1923, and other states grew increasingly lackadaisical as the decade wore on. National prohibition went into legal effect upward of six years ago, Maryland Senator William Cabell Bruce told Congress in the mid-1920s, but it can be truly said that, except to a highly qualified extent, it has never gone into practical effect at all.

Tens of thousands of Americans died because of prohibition, because of violence and drinking booze. Prohibition came to an end in 1933 when the Twenty-First Amendment was ratified. Thirty-six of forty-eight states ratified this Amendment. Alcohol consumption was never illegal in the united states..

Al Capone was considered public enemy number one and also the most renowned gangster of that time period. Capone once made $100 million a year from his career. Capone’s career consisted of booze smuggling, gambling, racketeering, prostitution, and other illegal trade. Al Capone was convicted of tax evasion by the IRS, however, he was never convicted of illegal smuggling alcoholic beverages and other sort of things. Capone was sentenced eleven years in federal prison, but he only served eight before he was releases shorty after he had a stroke and died in 1947.

From the article Gangsters and G-Man it mentions that Bonnie and Clyde were a romantic couple who were also outlaws and thieves from the area of Texas. Before Bonnie and Clyde got abused and killed in Louisiana in 1934, they killed nine police officers and many other civilians. They was the most famous Gangster couple in history. There was even a film, Bonnie and Clyde, starring Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway. The film was an oscar-winning film.

In August 1920, the nineteenth amendment gave women the right to vote. Flappers were young women who was known for their energetic freedom. People would view flappers lifestyle outrageous, immoral or downright dangerous. Flappers would smoke in public, drank alcohol, danced at jazz clubs and practiced a sexual freedom that shocked the Victorian morality of their parents. (Roe V. Wade) On October 29, 1929, the stock market crashed and the beginning of the Great Depression started causing the age of the flapper to come tumbling down out of the blue. The Gibson Girls was the rage before the start of World War I.

The decade that marked the beginning of the modern music era was the 1920’s. Speakeasies was an illicit liquor store or nightclub. However, speakeasies started out small, but when the Roaring Twenties came into town, speakeasies started expanding into clubs and featured musicians and dancers. All though speakeasies offered a party during the jazz age, there were also private clubs, dance clubs, jazz clubs, and roadhouses. All them places are where people would gather to try out the latest dance crazes, and listen to music.

Heather Whipps from the article Roaring Twenties says For ten years, between the destruction of the World War I and the misery of the Great depression, people in North America were actually happy. Americans would have money in their pockets and renewed sense of optimism after the end of the Great War. In the 1920s, city life was exciting. Since the woman became flappers, men found their passion in live sports. However, that exploded in popularity during the 1920s. When World War I started, young men all over the world was being used as cannon fodder for an older generation’s ideals and mistakes

Lily Rothman from Death from Drinking says For years, that industrial alcohol had been denatured by adding toxic or unappetizing chemicals to it. Some people had to shut their doors or find new uses for their factories because brewers continued to operate in streets during prohibition. Thousands of people died from drinking tainted liquor. Bootleggers produced thousands of gallons of alcohol and sometimes used the scheme of drug store much like Gatsby. “”He and this Wolfsheim bought up a lot of side-street drug-stores here and in Chicago and sold grain alcohol over the counter. That’s one of his little stunts. I picked him for a bootlegger the first time I saw him, and I wasn’t far wrong”” (Fitzgerald 133).

Great Gatsby Prohibition

In the Great Gatsby, Meyer wolfsheim, as Gatsby says the man who fixed the world series in 1919. Meyer was one of the gangsters that Gatsby built a connection with while he was making his fortune from bootlegging. Meyer is an infamous gambler. He is a character who is not ashamed to call their attention to their cufflinks. Wolfsheim is a gambler. Meyer Wolfsheim tells Nick that he used Gatsby and it was very successful. When Gatsby died, Wolfsheim refused to go to his funeral. The focus of Meyers nose means he is jewish. The author, Fitzgerald, shows that people will do anything for wealth.

As it was mentioned in the Great Gatsby, Jay Gatsby earns his fortune by the illegal sale of alcohol. Gatsby made this kind of socializing easy. Gatsby threw parties every so often. He would have music and fancy food, and a nice bar. You did not need an invitation to get into the party. Because there was free alcoholic beverages, tons of people would usually show up. In the Great Gatsby, it was possible that someone had bottomless stash of alcohol reserved prior to the prohibition, but because they had all the alcohol the source was probably a bootlegged alcohol

Gatsby made his money in an unsavory way. Daisy tells Tom at one point that Gatsby got rich because he owned a chain of drug stores. When Tom reveals to everyone that Gatsby is a bootlegger he tries to deny it. Gatsby tells Daisy to confess to Tom that she has never loved him, that she has been in love with Gatsby the whole time. Daisy receives a letter before her wedding from Gatsby. There is really no clue what the letter says but we do know that Daisy does not get drunk but after she red the letter she was rather drunk.

When Nick and Gatsby ride together to New York Gatsby tells Nick about his past. In Gatsby’s words he says something about my past (Fitzgerald ) He continues to tell NIck about his Midwestern Family background. Telling Nick that he got his education at Oxford. It is a family tradition. Nick is one of the few people who you would think would want to become friends with Gatsby. Gatsby for some reason wants Nicks approval.

In conclusion, prohibition was the manufacturing of illegally smuggling alcoholic beverages. It did not come close to forming people to stop drinking completely. This created a problem. There was large groups of bootleggers who were about to supply the public with illegal alcohol beverages. Even though many of these bootleggers became very rich, they also became influential through selling alcohol and using other methods

Prohibition created numerous of options and issues in American society. Groups have been promoting prohibition since the eighteenth century and it became a long-standing issue in America. Increasing alcohol consumption with prohibition marked was with saloons, drunkenness as well. Americans changed their social habits. This amendment was supposed to prevent the production, sale, and use of alcoholic beverages, but it did not turn out as planned.

They say that John D. Rockefeller had bug business wealth that was made without morals led prohibition to enforce self-control. As mentioned John D. Rockefeller as the representative of the greatest evil in public in life established standard oil.

However, an example of prohibition in The Great Gatsby is how Jay Gatsby became wealthy. Jay Gatsby was a bootlegger. Tom says Gatsby is a bootlegger and he says I picked him for a bootlegger the first time i saw him, and i wasn’t far wrong. (Fitzgerald pdf 122) When Tom accuses Gatsby and Wolfsheim of being bootlegger Gatsby does not deny it. Gatsby and wolfsheim had a lot of side street drug stores in chicago and sold grain alcohol over the counter.

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The Great Gatsby and Prohibition. (2019, Jun 17). Retrieved from