What should a thesis about Organized Crime and its menace look like? What points should it outline?

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A thesis on the effects of organized crime on society is meant to be the author’s own statement of their views regarding the topic based on their research. It would therefore be unethical to “give” you a thesis, but examining the following topics may provide a basis for research. You could discuss:

1. The origins of organized crime in America, largely concentrating on Prohibition and the idea that Americans (like most societies) were simply not going to forego alcohol, creating demand for a business structure for formalized bootlegging.

2. The idea that the vast profits generated during Prohibition allowed intelligent criminals to “branch out” into gambling, loansharking, extortion and “protection,” creating even more profit-making opportunities and necessitating the rigid hierarchies that are seen, for example, in La Cosa Nostra.

3. It might be interesting to discuss the paradoxical relationship in which the Mafia, among others, had with newly-arrived immigrants, serving as both an agent of assimilation and exploitation.

4. The degree to which the neighborhoods that they “protected” began to see them as heroes instead of exploiters, as part of a family rather than a group of gangsters.

5. The fairly well-accepted notion that at least some of the profits from criminal activity were used to establish legitimate businesses and charitable organizations, earning the backing of local and often national elected officials, conferring more power and influence.

6. The role that organized criminals assumed first as informal representatives of poor immigrants and then as official representatives in the budding labor unions, becoming almost certainly the de facto leaders of organized labor, and more importantly, the controllers of vast amounts of union money.

These ideas should be enough to help you get started on your research and to formulate your opinion on the negative (and from a certain point of view, positive) impact organized crime has had on American life. Be sure to examine criminal organizations outside of the traditional Italian mafia we tend to think of first—for example, Chinese "tong" control many immigrant communities on the west coast. Also, include perhaps a detailed discussion of the role America’s appetite for narcotics has had in fueling unprecedented profits among illicit operators, resulting in de facto control of entire countries.

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