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Organized crime has always been occupied with a negative label. Perhaps this is due to the constantly changing environment in America as well as the social state of its homeland, Europe. Our society is convinced that the so-called Mafia is a family of pure criminals, pimps, and murderers. Whatever the opinion, there is no doubt that the Mafia played a big part in the history of America and the way Americans view crime today.
“The origins of the secret society known as the Mafia are believed to be as old as the 9th century” (Mafia History). During the 9th century, the Mafia’s main purpose was to strengthen themselves against enemies, which invaded their homeland in Sicily. It was supposed to create a strong feeling of togetherness between all Sicilians. “This idea of family was carried through in the structure of the organization, which had a strong hierarchical layout” (Mafia History).
The Mafia is said by many to have perhaps the best system of power, than any other group or government known today. One can compare a physical representation of the family almost to a family tree dated all the way back through many generations. Certain people operated the system, but without the help of the people with the less power, the Mafia would be very weak. To put it another way, a leader cannot lead without followers, and the followers cannot follow without leaders. This is why the Mafia was hard to overcome. Although when many think of the location of the Mafia, Chicago and New York often come to mind, but actually the Mafia has been traced back through 26 major cites in America. Within every city were many Mafia families each with it’s own government.
“At the head of each family stood the Dons or Bosses. Next in line to the Dons was the Underbosses, who were second in command. Followed by the Consigliere or counselors. And last were the men who did the dirty work for the Mob, the Soldiers. The Soldiers were the one’s who would enforce discipline over both members and non-members through the use of intimidation, assaults, and murder” (Living Large 3).
All the members of the society were expected to go through a ceremony that often was compared to the baptism ceremony. “The induction ceremony is the most important day of a mobster’s life, the day that they become full members of La Cosa Nostra” (Mafia Life).
“The ceremony for the newcomers was something that was looked forward to by all. “The newcomer is told that the Mafia is a secret society and there is one way in and only one way out of it. You come in on your feet and you go in a coffin. Then the new members were asked if they were capable of even killing their own blood family on command” (Mafia Life).
Along with the ceremony, the mobster was told of the rules he must abide by. The most important rule in organized crime was the rule called the Omerta. “ The Omerta is a code of silence. A vow never to reveal any Mafia secrets or member under threat of torture or death” (Mafia History). Another rule was the obedience rule.
“The obedience rule stated that the member must at all times be loyal to the boss or Don. A third law of the Mafia was the assistance to any befriended Mafia faction, no questions asked. A few others included, Avenge any attack on members of the family, because an attack on one was an attack on all, and the last rule was to avoid any and all contact with the authorities” (Mafia History).
There is still much we don’t know about the Mafia due to the fact that the very first rule when inducted is the Omerta.
Along with the many members involved with the Mafia, there were just as many ethnic families that existed if not more. “Mafia families were growing very large in 1800’s” (Mafia History). The reason for the large swelling of crime in America was because of the vicious increase in foreign immigrants during that time in America.
“Three million Irish, four million Italians, and four million Jews immigrated to America. They immigrated for a number of reasons. Many of them dreamed
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Crime family, Mafia, Capo di tutti capi, Gangster, Irish Mob, National Crime Syndicate, Gang, American Mafia, Albanian mafia
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