Boardwalk Empire (TV Series 2010–2014) Poster



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  • Yes and no, Western states such as Washington, California, Wyoming, Utah etc had long given women the vote, partly in recognition of the more full role they played in frontier societies and partly to encourage them to settle in such women starved areas in the first place. But it wasn't until 1920 that all women in the US were given full voting rights. Margeret refers to her already having the right to vote because Britain introduces votes for women in 1918 (although with certain property and educational qualifications). Ironically one of the main reasons men resisted women's emancipation was that it would give them the influence to impose prohibition, women's movements at the forefront of the temperance campaign. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • In 1912 Britain passes the Home Rule Bill granting Ireland self goverment with the prospect of later full independence in the same manner as Canada, Australia, New Zealand. Rather than resolving the 'Irish Question' this sparked huge political violence with Irish Republicans killing hundreds of Irish Unionists prompting revenge attacks against Irish Republicans. Both sides of the conflict were supported by their immigrant communities in America and Canada who sent money and arms to their respective factions in Ireland. The members of the Ancient Order of Celts are Irish Republicans but there is a divide between first and second generation immigrants to the USA. The first generation immigrants claim to be more loyal to the cause of Irish Republicans because they had first hand experience of the troubles; the second generation immigrants are offended and claim to be just as loyal. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • Yes but it may be deliberate on the part of the writers. In his speech Eli blames the European potato famine which ravaged Ireland in the 1840s on Oliver Cromwell who battled Irish Royalists as part of the 'War of the Three Kingdoms' in the 1640s. However this may have been an intentional mistake introduced in the script to demonstrate the extent of Eli's ignorance compared to Nucky. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • The movement had been gaining momentum for many years as it was felt that alcohol was morally corrupting the nation but was given impetus by America's involvement in the Great War, the theory being that grain and industry devoted to brewing could be harnassed for the war effort (Britain also introduced licencing laws for the first time during the period, putting restrictions on the opening hours for bars in order to boost productivity). Ironically the war would be long over by the time prohibition was finally enacted in January 1920. The rise of the women's suffrage campaign also played a role as they became a force in politics for the first time and largely supported the measure whilst the introduction of federal income tax in 1913 gave hope that the government could fund itself without the revenues gained from taxing liquor. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • As the show accurately depicts, not very. The Volstead Act (the federal law banning alcohol enabled by the 18th Amendment) was to be enforced by only 1,520 federal agents tasked with covering the whole of the United States. This was only one agent per 70,000 people and thus wholly inadequate to either enforce the 18th Amendment within society or control America's vast coastline and huge unguarded borders with Mexico and Canada. What's more the act itself was riddled with loopholes, people were allowed to quite legally brew wine and cider for consumption at home whilst doctors were allowed to prescribe alcohol for medicinal purposes and clergymen for religious sacraments, legal technicalities which were extensively exploited and abused. Furthermore it was not actually illegal to drink alcohol, only to sell it, transport it or manufacture beer/spirits, allowing many people to quite legitimately consume whatever they had stockpiled in the period between the act passing in October 1919 and becoming law in January 1920. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • Extremely so. Contemporary Ireland was wracked by political/sectarian violence over the country's future following the 1912 Home Rule Bill which aimed to give it progressive independence from the rest of the British Isles. Pro-Republican Irish Americans such as Nucky did indeed provide roughly 150 Thompson submachine guns to the IRA but nearly 500 more were captured by the US authorities leaving New York docks after being betrayed by documents captured from IRA leader Michael Collins. Just as shown in the series Irish republicans rapidly descended into internecine warfare over the terms of the eventual truce with the British government culminating in all out civil war. The 2 policemen wearing Tam O'Shanters (berets with a bobble in the middle) on the Belfast docks when Nucky arrives are the 'Auxies' (Auxillaries), an elite anti-terrorist force raised from ex-Great War officers who became renown for their vigilante killing of Irish republicans and reprisal destruction of their property. They are often referred to as 'Black and Tans' (after a famous Irish foxhunt due to their mix of military and police uniforms) although the term is normally applied to non-commissioned ex-servicemen recruited into the Royal Irish Constabulary. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • Nucky Thompson himself is based on real life Atlantic City historical figure Nucky Johnson, one of the most powerful political "bosses" and racketeers in America in the 1920s. However, the TV series is a "fictionalized" version, having taken many artistic liberties, especially in terms of his criminal behavior, appearance and marital status. A hulking, towering man with a booming voice, Johnson was an enormously popular, jocular and gregarious man with a flamboyant, womanizing lifestyle. Even after the loss of his political power and his conviction for tax evasion, Johnson never changed his persona, quite different from the physically slight, brooding and sullen public figure Thompson is shown to present after season 1. Like Thompson, Johnson was a dapper dresser who had the signature of wearing a rose in his lapel. The real Nucky Johnson never ran a distillery and was never known to murder anyone or to order anyone else to kill. Johnson was able to co-exist well with organized crime since he allowed it to prosper in Atlantic City for a cut of the profits from the rackets rather than compete with the crime bosses, as Thompson is shown to do. Many of the more prominent gangsters are real, notably Al Capone, Johnny Torrio, Joe Masseria, Waxey Gordon, George Remus, Lucky Luciano, Meyer Lansky, Bugsy Siegel, Ace Rothstein, Mickey Duffy (Doyle) etc. Other background figures are also real notably US Secretary of State Andrew Mellon, Senator Walter Edge, Gaston Means, Jess Smith, Eddie Cantor, and the stage magician Theodore Hardeen, brother of Harry Houdini and founder of the Magician's Guild. Eddie Kessler, Thompson's butler and driver, is based on Louis Kessel, Johnson's real valet. The Commodore was a real life figure and mentor to Johnson, of the real name of Louis Kuehnle, but his rather disturbing personal history is a fictional invention of the writers. Beyond these particular infamous mobsters, however, a great majority of the characters are fictional. For example, Richard Harrow, Nelson Van Alden, Chalky White, Margaret Schroeder and her family, Jimmy and all other Darmodys are all totally fictional. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • They wholeheartedly supported it as a patriotic and puritanical measure, many Klansmen also members of pro-prohibition organizations and in some areas the two movements were synonymous. As depicted on the show they often resorted to violence especially using arson against speakeasys. That many bootleggers were African-American, Catholic, Jewish or members of other minority groups they loathed was also a strong motive. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • In 1928 Rothstein lost heavily in a 3 day poker game and afterwards refused to pay his debts claiming the game was rigged. As a result he was shot and mortally wounded during a business meeting at a New York hotel and died in hospital the next day, refusing to name his assassins to the police. Gambler George 'Hump' McManus was arrested for his murder but was never convicted and Rothstein's killing remains officially unsolved. While Rothstein was a main player in the show, the final season jumps ahead quite a few years, passed when he was killed. Edit (Coming Soon)


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