The Alcoholic Republic by W.J. Rorabaugh Essay

During the 19th -century America was known for it’s imbibing abilities. The inquiry some people want to cognize is “was early nineteenth-century America truly a state of drunkards” ( Rorabaugh 5 ) ? The United States was among the most addicted of states. that in this regard it had out stripped all of Europe. and that “no other people of all time indulged. so universally. ” Alcohol was looked upon as a disease like the pestilence and it was distributing wider and wider throughout the state.

It was being considered as a turning immorality.

Statesman like George Washington. Thomas Jefferson. and John Adams weren’t worried about the usage of intoxicant for they drank themselves. but the inordinate usage. In 1821 a affluent bookman. George Ticknor. warned Jefferson. “If the ingestion of spiritous spiritss should increase for 30 old ages to come at the rate it has for 30 old ages back we should be barely better than a state of sots” ( 6 ) . This feared the Establishing Fathers because they were afraid that the American democracy would be destroyed in a inundation of intoxicant.

To others. like foreign travellers they found the imbibing wonts of Americans distressing. They were surprised to see how much intoxicant was being consumed. A Swedish visitant. Carl D. Arfwesdon. reported a “general dependence to hard drinking” ( 6 ) . The travellers were so amazed to see the extent of intemperance of the Americans.

Americans drank largely distilled spirits normally known as spirits-whiskey. rum. and brandy. Most of these spiritss were 45 per centum intoxicant or as we know it today as 90 cogent evidence.

“During the nineteenth-century the typical American yearly drank more distilled spirits than at any other clip in our history” ( 7 ) .

Between 1800 and 1830 one-year per capita of ingestion increased and exceeded 5 gallons. which is tripled of today’s ingestion. After the high revenue enhancement the imbibing of distilled drinks dropped to 2 gallons per capita. It seems to me that one time the spirits was being taxed the Americans did non desire to pay the high monetary values and that is why the ingestion likely dropped.

Along with distilled liquors. Americans drank weaker fermented drinks such as: beer ( 5 % ) . difficult cyder ( 10 % ) . and vino ( 18 % ) . “Until 1850 one-year per capita ingestion of commercial beer at non clip reached 2 gallons. and it was non until the Civil War that it raised dramatically toward today’s rate of more than 18 gallons” ( 9 ) . Difficult cyder was a really popular drink particularly in Virginia. The ingestion of difficult cyder was an one-year per capita of 15 or more gallons. Wine on the other manus was non being consumed every bit much as beer or difficult cyder. Between 1770 and 1870 less than a 3rd of a gallon was being drank.

Drinking in the immature state was evidently hearty. non to state inordinate. “However. the charge made by alarmed reverends and solons that in this regard America had outstripped every other state was exaggerated” ( 10 ) . During the early nineteenth-century the consumption of intoxicant in the United States with any other states shows that Americans drank more than the English. Irish. or Prussians. but about the same as the Scots or French. and less than the Swedes. Because Scotland. Sweden. and the United States were agricultural. rural. lightly populated. and geographically isolated from foreign markets they had stronger holds on distilled liquors. In Ireland and Prussia their economic systems lacked excess grain and could non back up a high degree of distilled liquors production. In England revenue enhancements on distilled liquors were so high that people switched from whisky and gin to beer. “Although through early nineteenth-century Americans did non imbibe more comparatively flush Europeans of that epoch. by modern criterions they drank a lot” ( 11 ) .

Although work forces were the heaviest drinkers. adult females were non faint-heated ascetics. “The capable received light attending because it was “too delicate” to be discussed” ( 12 ) . A adult female was supposed to demo restraint because she was delicate and delicate. The adult females were non allowed to imbibe in the populace for case in tap houses. food markets unless they were going and retrieving from a long journey. Even so they may merely have watered down and extremely sweetened liquors.

The daintiness of adult females led them to imbibe alcohol-based medical specialties such as tummy elixirs. However. there was some societal juncture when it was proper for a adult female to imbibe freely and openly. These were society dinners. suppers. flushing parties. and at innovator dances. At such occasions the whiskey bottle was passed around from oral cavity to talk relieving neither age nor gender.

In the South. adult females slaves drank less than their portion of spirits. Their Masterss provided moire liquors as a work inducement during harvest clip. However. the jurisprudence by and large prohibited inkinesss from imbibing at other times. In some territories inkinesss were supposed to be a bulk of tavern clients. and slaves frequently found they could acquire liquor by interchanging their ain garden veggies or jambons stolen from the maestro. “In 1798 North Carolina prohibited retail merchants from selling intoxicant to break one’s back if their proprietors objected ; in 1818 forbade slaves from peddling spirits ; and in 1833 forbade them from purchasing liquors under any condition” ( 13 ) .

Drinking started at an early age particularly with white males. “As shortly as a yearling was able to imbibe from a cup. he was coaxed to devour the sugary residue at the underside of an adult’s about empty glass of spirits” ( 14 ) . The parents thought the early exposure would acquire the

kids to the gustatory sensation of spirits and acquire them to accept the thought of imbibing little sums. which would protect them from being rummies. It was non uncommon to see twelve-year-old male childs walk in a tap house with their male parents and drink from the same glass. This made a male parent proud that his boy was now making manhood.

In American society intoxicant was really persuasive. They drank at place. together. and at work. From the cleft of morning to the cleft of morning Americans drank. They besides would imbibe before repasts. with repasts. and after repasts. They started imbibing as a young person and continued until their old age.

Merely because Americans drank a batch of distilled liquors doesn’t mean they were rummies. Even today. many people drink but we can’t name them alkies. I don’t cognize if anyone could truly find if any state could be considered as rummies. So was early nineteenth-century America truly a state of rummies? The reply is no. they were merely basking themselves.

Plants Cited

Rorabaugh. W. J. The Alcoholic Republic An American Tradition. New York: Oxford. 1976.

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