Prohibition: American Folly

Watch Prohibition...where lofty goals trumped common sense, and average citizens became lawbreakers.

 
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This 3-part, 5 1/2 hour documentary film series directed by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick tells the story of the rise, rule, and fall of the 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and the era it encompassed. The culmination of nearly a century of activism, Prohibition was intended to protect individuals, families, and society at large from the devastating effects of alcohol abuse. But a faith-driven moral code in the Constitution paradoxically caused millions of Americans to rethink their definition of morality. Thugs became celebrities, authority was rendered impotent. Social mores in place for a century were obliterated. Liquor consumption rocketed, propelling the rest of the culture with it: skirts shortened. Music heated up. America's Sweetheart morphed into The Vamp. Prohibition turned law-abiding citizens into criminals, made a mockery of the justice system, caused illicit drinking to seem glamorous, encouraged neighborhood gangs to become national crime syndicates, and fostered cynicism and hypocrisy that corroded the social contract all across the country. The film raises vital questions that are as relevant today as they were 100 years ago - about means and ends, individual rights and responsibilities, the proper role of government and finally, who is - and who is not - a real American..
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