Pro­hi­bi­tion

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Television -

Satur­day, 8.30pm, SBS One This is the fifth episode in this epic doc­u­men­tary se­ries from Ken Burns about the rise, rule, and in­evitable fall of the 18th amend­ment of the US con­sti­tu­tion, ban­ning the man­u­fac­ture, sale, and trans­porta­tion of al­co­hol. Dur­ing the 13 years of Pro­hi­bi­tion, mil­lions of Amer­i­cans re­acted by turn­ing their backs on the moral­is­tic uni­verse it rep­re­sented. The en­shrin­ing of a faith-driven moral code in the con­sti­tu­tion para­dox­i­cally caused mil­lions of Amer­i­cans to re­think their def­i­ni­tion of moral­ity. Burns, of course, is the Emmy award-win­ning film­maker whose doc­u­men­taries in­clude, most mem­o­rably, The Civil War se­ries. Tonight’s fi­nal episode, A Na­tion of Hyp­ocrites, brings to a close a great story, sexy and vi­o­lent, dan­ger­ous and vis­cer­ally dra­matic. By the close of the 1920s, many Amer­i­cans blamed the moral­is­tic laws for the rise of crim­i­nal syn­di­cates, gang­sters and promis­cu­ity, and there was a sense that the en­tire gov­ern­ment was cor­rupted. When the De­pres­sion hit they be­gan to re-ex­am­ine their pri­or­i­ties and by De­cem­ber 1933, Pro­hi­bi­tion’s reign came to an end un­der pres­i­dent Franklin D. Roo­sevelt.

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