Alphonse Gabriel Capone

America's Most Notorious Gangster

Al Capone's Personal Background and Life

Alphonse Gabriel Capone was born on January 17, 1899 to Italian immigrants Gabriele and Teresa Capone. He was the fourth of nine children. The family had moved from Naples to New York. Despite not being of poor standards, the family lived in the tough Williamsburg section of Brooklyn. He went to school up until 6th grade, when he was expelled for hitting a female teacher. Capone never went back to school. Here he joined the James Street Gang, which was a small time gang. Later, after proving himself useful, he "graduated" to the Five Points Gang. As he grew older, he became a gunman for the gang. One of the gang members, Johnny Torrio along with Frankie Uale hired him to work at a saloon. After insulting a woman, her brother stepped in and a bar fight occurred. Capone was slashed by a razor which resulted in three pale and hairless scars on his face. He hated the nickname that was then given to him, Scarface.

After moving from Brooklyn, he worked for Big Jim Colosimo with Johnny Torrio. He worked as a bouncer, bag man and enforcer. In 1920, when Colosimo was killed, many thought that Capone and Torrio were behind the murder, as they had been next in line for the power of the gang. Both had alibis, and there were no other suspects, so the case went cold.

Throughout his life, Capone never left crime.... (This was getting too long).

Issues and Ideas

As Keton has so eloquently put it, "He was a freaking mafia member, he had lots of issues." To specify, with age he gained more and more health issues. Because of his unhealthy lifestyle, he contracted syphilis. Though he still had more time to serve, because of his poor health, he was let out of Alcatraz early. He went to his Florida home, where he began to battle the mental illness of dementia. Eventually he died of a stroke and pneumonia at the age of 48 on January 25th, 1947.

He also had many ideas. One of them was to constantly mock the police. For three months, he went into hiding. Later he came back out and gave himself up to the police. But because they had no evidence to hold him, they had to let him. It was a huge public ordeal and made a huge showcase out of the police. Despite having a violent aura, he was actually a very kind and cool tempered man.

Some Pictures of Capone

Point of View

Capone thought that he was above the law and the government. He thought he could avoid jail or punishment for crimes by killing off all witnesses to the crime and having his men do all the dirty work. One famous quote by him is “You can get much farther with a kind word and gun, than you can with a kind word alone.” He believed that threats were the solutions to get what you wanted. Though he wasn’t wrong, it still wasn’t a good method.

What impact did this person have on society?

Al Capone was very impactful, if in only a negative way. Because he rose to his prime when the Prohibition had taken place, there were many organized crimes he could take part of. Capone worked in brothels, speakeasies and gambling dens. If anyone ever threatened to testify against him, when there was enough evidence for the conviction, Capone’s men would kill them and silence them forever. He affected many people by allowing them to indulge themselves with illegal pleasures, which included prostitution and alcohol. He also exploited people, with gambling dens. They would stop at nothing to get the money that was owed to them.

In total, Capone killed 34 people. Most of the reason these people were killed were because they dared to against Capone. Starting a rival gang, being in a rival gang, testifying against him or even not paying your debt. There's another quote by him that makes him seem a little bipolar. "Don't mistake my kindness for weakness. I am kind to everyone, but when someone is unkind to me, weak is not what you're going to remember about me." He only retaliated when necessary.

How successful was this person in getting across his/her ideas and point of view?

Al Capone was very successful in getting his point across. Because of the notorious air he had gained in killing someone who threatened his mentor and friend Johnny Torrio, many people feared and followed him. He managed to escape capture and conviction by police for a very long time. But eventually his luck ran out and he was caught. Another way we know he was successful was that most people agreed with him. Those who didn't and spoke out were killed.

How might this person respond to one of the issues facing the United States today?

Back in his time, Capone responded with illegal measures to the Prohibition. So, now I believe that Capone would still follow his criminal path and do things illegally, I think he would also continue to mock the system, as he did before.