Feb 28, 2022

Alcohol Prohibition

America is the land of Liberty.  You can think what you want to think, and you can say what you  want to say; but you cannot always do what you want to do —  without breaking the law.   Today you cannot use hard drugs, because it is against the law. The law has decided that drugs are dangerous,  and most people believe that the law is right. Today, in many places, you cannot smoke a cigarette in the street. But today, you can sit in a  bar and drink a beer — just as long as you are not below the age limit;  a hundred years ago, you could not. America was dry. Alcohol was  illegal. You could neither drink it nor make it, nor buy it, nor import it, nor sell it.      lf you did, you could go to prison.      Alcohol became illegal in the year 1919; it remained illegal for fourteen years. However, it never disappeared! Before 1919 alcoholic drinks were very popular in the United States. There was a big drinks industry, which employed a great number of people. Suddenly, in 1919, the industry had to stop!      Of course, it could not stop. It stopped officially, but it continued to prosper -  unofficially.  In place of big business, there was big  crime. The Mafia took control of  the distribution, and the bosses of  the Mafia replaced the bosses of  the breweries and the distilleries. rrested      The biggest gangster of them all was  Al Capone, who came from New York and operated in Chicago.  Capone controled a vast  empire of crime. He was so powerful that he could control anyone he wanted to. He could "buy"  policemen, he could "buy" politicians. He was "untouchable". In his fortress at Chicago, he was quite safe, because he was a friend of the Mayor, "Big" Bill  Thompson.        Big Bill liked Capone,  because he liked his drink. Bill and his drinking friends in the authorities made sure that Capone did not have much trouble. Capone had lots of enemies, but most of his enemies were frightened of him. They knew that Al could kill them, and would kill them, if they were not careful.      Most policemen were very careful not to get in the way of Al Capone, unless they had to. Most policemen, but not all.  A small group of policemen,  known as "the Untouchables", were determined that Al Capone would not escape from justice for ever.  They took several years to do their  work, but in the end they succeeded. Al Capone was finally sent  to prison.      However, he was never accused of killing, nor of selling alcohol. He was too clever for that. No evidence could incriminate him for that. He  was sent to prison for not paying  taxes.

WORDS: 1. as  long as - on condition that 2.- remained: continued to be - 3. to prosper:  to do well -  4.brewery: a place where beer is made (brewed) -  5.have trouble: have difficuty get in the  way of: obstruct  incriminate him:  show that he had done something. 

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