History

Prohibition

PROHIBITION tells the story of the rise, rule, and fall of the Eighteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and the entire era it encompassed. Prohibition was intended to protect all Americans from the devastating effects of alcohol abuse. But, paradoxically, the enshrining of a faith-driven moral code in the Constitution caused millions of Americans to rethink their definition of morality.

PBS Previews | Prohibition

22m 35s

A 30 minute preview of Prohibition and a Q&A with Ken Burns and Lynn Novick.

Episodes

  • A Nation of Hypocrites: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    A Nation of Hypocrites

    S1 E3 - 1h 46m

    Gangsters make huge profits and wreak havoc in cities across the country. By the late 1920s, many Americans believe that Prohibition has failed. After the election of FDR in 1932, Prohibition is repealed

  • A Nation of Scofflaws: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    A Nation of Scofflaws

    S1 E2 - 1h 51m

    In 1920, Prohibition goes into effect and millions of law-abiding Americans become lawbreakers overnight. Drys had hoped Prohibition would make the country a safer place, but the law has many victims

  • A Nation of Drunkards: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    A Nation of Drunkards

    S1 E1 - 1h 36m

    The story of Prohibition's rise and fall is a compelling saga that goes far beyond the oft-told tales of gangsters, flappers, and speakeasies, to reveal a complicated and divided nation in the throes of momentous transformation.

Extras + Features

  • Al Capone Murder to Massacre: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Al Capone Murder to Massacre

    S1 - 7m 31s

    Feb. 14, 1929: George Moran's gang is gunned down in cold blood and Capone is thought to have ordered the hit.

  • Retribution: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Retribution

    S1 - 8m 54s

    The Anti Saloon League successfully combined propaganda, religion and political coercion to make alcohol a wedge issue in elections.

  • Georgetown Bootlegging: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Georgetown Bootlegging

    S1 - 1m 40s

    Don Ward talks about his father, Paul hiding illegal alcohol in Arlington Cemetery.

  • Lois Long: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Lois Long

    S1 - 7m 44s

    Lois Long, pen-name 'Lipstick,' wrote about speakeasies for the New Yorker. Women who could not afford to live the decadent lifestyle got to read about her exploits.

  • The Gender Barrier is Broken: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    The Gender Barrier is Broken

    S1 - 6m 51s

    Prohibition led in a sexual revolution for women. Drinking at speakeasies, mixing more with men, flappers broke from the repression of their suffragette mothers' time.

  • The Immigrant Invasion: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    The Immigrant Invasion

    S1 - 1m 53s

    Tensions emerged between native born Americans and the newly arrived immigrants.

  • The Volstead Act: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    The Volstead Act

    S1 - 3m 15s

    The Volstead Act was much stricter than most Americans had anticipated, including Wine and Beer in Prohibition.

  • The Time is Now: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    The Time is Now

    S1 - 13m 20s

    With the passage of the 16th Amendment, the Goverment no longer needed taxes from Alcohol. By 1914 a prohibition amendment seemed within reach.

  • Pauline Sabin: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Pauline Sabin

    S1 - 10m 2s

    Pauline Sabin, an heiress disillusioned with the Republican party, began the Women's Organization for National Prohibition Reform.

  • Carry Nation: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Carry Nation

    S1 - 7m 33s

    Carry Nation was the president of her local Kansas chapter of the WCTU. She vandalized saloons across Kansas in 1900, smashing them up with a hatchet.

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