"Rumrunners, Moonshiners and Bootleggers" is …

… the name of The History Channel program that I just watched. The promo:

Heroes who fight tax collectors and moral crusaders, or just common criminals? Like it or not, America was built by rumrunners, moonshiners, and bootleggers–even founding father John Hancock was a smuggler. In the 1920s, Prohibition turned fishermen into rumrunners and two-bit gangsters into millionaires, and moonshine haulers in their souped-up cars helped create NASCAR. Rare archival footage and photos help weave the compelling tale of our nation’s love-hate relationship with illegal alcohol.

One bootlegger-turned-NASCAR-racer featured is Robert Glen Johnson, Jr. a/k/a Junior Johnson. He’s credited with inventing the “bootleg turn,” in which a driver escapes a pursuer by sharply putting his speeding car into a 180-degree turn on the highway, then speeding off in the opposite direction before his pursuer can turn around — at least according to Wikipedia. Junior was convicted in 1956 of moonshining, and was pardoned in 1986 by Ronald Regan for that crime. That’s just before NASCAR really, really took off. Hmmm.

The show also highlights the evolution of the Revenuer. This is interesting stuff (some good pictures). The modern-day Revenuers, I believe, play a more nuanced role in government than their predecessors. That’s a good thing because it was a dangerous job — but just one of many dangers encountered under The Noble Experiment.
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  1. Anonymous says:

    nice, way to think deep.

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