Document Type

Class Paper

Publication Date



Al Capone is one of the most notorious mobsters in United States history. Capone was able to turn America’s “second city” into a politically corrupt, gang entrenched city in less than one decade. He received this great power and authority over Chicago from Johnny Torrio, the head mobster before Capone.1 Torrio was able to run his gang successfully in Chicago; however, Capone was able to form relationships with policemen, office holders, and other officials within the city who openly took bribes from him, ultimately giving him the keys to the city. Capone used this stronghold he had over the respected office holders to his advantage. He was able to run his illegal operations, such as bootlegging that was especially profitable because of the 1920s prohibition. These operations made him millions of dollars. The money Capone was making never showed up in his taxes; the money would simply be waiting for him in his bank accounts. The violent crimes and murders committed by Capone’s gang were the same way; there was never a record of any crime. Capone would order one of his mobsters to murder somebody but there could be no trace of evidence that suggested Capone was in any way involved. By never being directly involved in a crime, Capone was able to run Chicago and have the people eating out of the palm of his hand. One of the misconceptions about Chicago during this time period was that all officials and policemen were corrupt, or somehow had a connection with Capone. Though there was not a lot of justice seeking officials in Chicago, there were enough to help take Capone down. One of the main men investigating Capone was investigator Eliot Ness. Ness and his team, along with other agencies, were able to follow and investigate Capone’s actions and finally arrest and charge him. The actions of these men inevitably saved Chicago from many more years of corruption and violence. Capone rose to power in Chicago with the help of many policemen and public officials. The men who Chicago’s citizens relied on to keep them safe were taking bribes and side deals from Capone so he could run his illegal businesses. Without the few men left who still believed in the preservation of law and order, Chicago would have been left to gang rule. Even though law and order was not the easiest task in the 1920s, these few justice seeking agencies stayed true to their oath to protect and serve and helped save Chicago from an unavoidable demise.


Research Seminar



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.