Bootleggers in the 1920’s were very powerful people who illegally distributed or produced liquor and many other high priced goods. The name “Bootlegger”, was adopted by Midwest travelers in the 1880’s because they would hide their liquor in their boots when trading with Indians. In the early 1900’s, bootleggers successfully defeated many early attempts by the government to regulate the liquor business by taxation. In 1920, congress passed the 18th amendment, which prohibited the sale of alcohol, also known as the prohibition era.
Bootlegging became a profitable source of income, and as a result, bootleggers gained enormous po
In Bigger cities like Chicago, tremendous industries were created around illegal liquor and beer sales creating organized crime. The bootlegging business was so big at the time, many rival gangs were competing with each other for money. The American mafia expanded and grew, branching out into gambling, loan sharking and extortion, concerns they still control today. Al Capone, Bugs Moran, and the O"tmbanion"tms, made most of the bootlegging money They were above the law it seemed and powerful figures and had influence over law enforcement and many government agencies. Bootleggers organized themselves into alliances and cartels that could control their activities. As the prohibition era went on, fewer and fewer people were controlling the money made by bootlegging. There were as many as 25,000 blind pigs operating in the Detroit area, and authorities were not only helpless to stop it, many were part of the problem. More gangsters emerged in the money making business as the industry became more and more profitable. People started buying alcohol from the black market and in pubs known as "Speakeasies". The public turned to these gangsters who eagerly supplied them with alcohol. Corruption spread like a virus into the public and law and order began to break down creating murders to rise. Many bootleggers would bribe high political figures, securing there illegal business. The demand for alcohol gave bootleggers, many of whom were gangsters, much wealth and power.