For all the film portrayals like The Hangover and Superbad that portray modern America as a wasteland full of worthless alcoholics, it’s time to get the facts straight. The Atlantic is reporting that during the post-Declaration 1700s and early 1800s, the average American drank an average of 7.1 gallons of pure alcohol per year, compared to the estimated 2.34 gallons of pure alcohol we drink in modern ‘merica.
Turns out that all that despite all of the frat lords and alcoholics, we’re collectively some pretty sober ducks (even though “2.34 gallons of pure alcohol” still sounds like a shit ton of booze). If this were “college me” writing this, I’d say we need to step our fucking game up, but since it’s not, I’ll say that this is a good problem to have. In fact, I’ll say it’s no problem at all.
For what it’s worth, though, the report does mention that a big reason we Americans were such savages back in the day is due in large part to the fact that clean drinking water was hard to come by, and light beers were often the safest way to keep hydrated, even for kids. (Come to think of it, I think I remember hearing that in an intro US History class in college that I got a C in).
Included in the report is a chart from Founding Father Dr. Benjamin Rush that outlined supposed moral consequences for each level of drinking. According to Rush’s “A Moral and Physical Thermometer,” drinking a small beer would bring “serenity of mind,” and drinking wine or strong beer would bring “cheerfulness, strength, and nourishment.” On the other hand, Rush warned that stronger spirits would lead to one “lying and swearing” and punishment of up to “state prison for life.”
So remember, folks, when you’re celebrating our kick-ass country’s freedom with your favorite people on a boat this Saturday, take time to appreciate that Benjamin Rush is no longer judging how hammered you get. It’s a special occasion, by god, and in 2015 America, you make your own damn drinking rules..
[via The Atlantic]
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