Mafia Essay

2008 words - 9 pages

Mafia. What does this word mean? The actual members of the Mafia aren't even sure where the word first originated or what it really means. One of the theories as to where the word came from is from Sicily, where people would yell " Morte alla Francia, Italia anela!" (Death to France, Italy groans!), therefore forming the acronym MAFIA. Others claim the word derived from the battle cry of rebels who slaughtered thousands of Frenchmen after a French soldier raped a Palermo woman on her wedding day. Their slogan echoed her mother's cry, "Ma fia, Ma fia" (my daughter my daughter). There are other less "glamorous" stories as to where the word originally formed. The most likely reasoning says that ...view middle of the document...

This idea of attitudes shows why a secret society such as the Mafia should luxuriate in Sicily, and could easily be transplanted into the ghettos of the New World. The associates of the Mafia are called fratellos. They are to obey a capo, which they elect. The capo then picks the consigliari (counselors), whom help him to make justice and judgments. When one of the fratellos finds himself in any sort of difficulty, the association tries to help and assist him. Soon hundreds of cities in America had their own associations. In the city of New York and Brooklyn alone, there were five. Between the heads of the borgates or families, they select the overall capo, which they call the capo di capi re, or king. The signature of the Mafia was a black handprint, and for a few years the society was known as the Black Hand. It was also commonly know by many people as the Honored Society. The Mafia mainly preyed on nonmembers among their own countrymen. Immigrants that were not familiar with the laws, traditions, and languages of the United States were easily victims of extortion and could be forced to pay a percentage of their earnings as they had done in the old country. Gentile told of settling a feud between a nephew and an uncle, simply by making the nephew a member of the Honored Society also. Gentile helped to make their relationship stronger than ever. It was by such acts of kindness that Gentile worked his way up to the role of Mafia troubleshooter in the United States. Over many years, he soon became know as "Uncle Cola," settling problems from New York to San Francisco. He was a peacemaker, as ironic as that may sound when dealing with the Mafia. The Italian-Sicilian's were not alone in immigrating to the United States. The Germans, Irish, and European Jews also came in great waves, running from hunger and religious persecution. They not only had trouble adjusting to the other ethnic groups, but with accepting America's Puritan Ethic. It was based upon WASP (White Anglo-Saxon Protestant), therefore the accumulation of wealth being seen as proof of God's favor and evidence of a moral life. Many people took this seriously, and tried to help the country as much as possible. New arrivals took jobs such as building railroads, working in the shrimp or sponge industries, and also in steel mills. These jobs brought newcomers to New England, the west coast of Florida, Ohio Valley, Pittsburgh, and many other places. Another law people began to live by was proposed by Gentile, saying that you should take what you can get. The law of the jungle you might say, therefore giving justification to organized crime today. Many tried to argue with people, among themselves, saying that once they made a lot of money; they could "earn" God's blessing by doing good things for other people with their money. Many universities greatly benefited from this idea throughout the years. It took a while, but the Mafia soon began to find the many short cuts to easy wealth....

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