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Santiago Escobar

English III, Section 1

Amelia Lanza

November 21, 2011


Hook: "This American system of ours, call it Americanism, call it capitalism, call it what youwill, gives each and every one of us a great opportunity if we only seize it with both hands and make the most of it." These are the words of infamous gangster Al Capone, whocertainly did make the most of a corrupt economic system.

Context: Throughout America’s history there have been many well-known criminals, but perhaps none as notorious as Al Capone. During the roaring‘20s when cops and judges looked the other way as bootleggers made it rich, Capone built an unrivaled criminal empire. The country worshiped celebrities as it never had before, and Capone was noexception. Despite humble beginnings and an average intelligence, he used his charisma to win over the public and earn record profits.

Thesis: Al Capone is the single greatest symbol of the collapse of lawand order in the United States during the 1920s Prohibition era.


Paragraph 1:
* Capone’s background
* Historical/social context (Prohibition, bootlegging industry, changingvalues, etc.)

Paragraphs 2-3:
* Capone’s empire – what he accomplished and how– connect to thesis
Paragraph 4:
* Capone’s downfall – connect to thesis

Paragraph 5:
* Capone’s legacy – connect to thesis (how he issymbolic of the spirit of the 1920s)
– why people continue to be fascinated by him

Conclusion: The 1920s in the United Sates was a time of both economic prosperity andunparalleled corruption. This context, along with the explosion of Hollywood and celebrity culture, created the ideal environment for Al Capone’s unprecedented success. By taking advantage of the...
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