Falling over in Philadelphia : early American psychotropy and transatlantic intoxication

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Montana State University - Bozeman, College of Letters & Science


This thesis explores the relationship among early Americans, taverns, and alcohol. It analyzes the extent to which alcohol and the drunkenness that frequently accompanied and shaped early American history. It argues that the Transatlantic marketplace functioned as a drug that early Americans associated with consumerism, including rum, wine, beer, and other beverages. It also examines the role of centralized colonial authority, questioning the effectiveness of tavern legislation in regards to public intoxication. Furthermore, it scrutinizes taverns as not only social and political institutions but also as biological institutions, a social necessity that exploits our evolutionary past. The research is interdisciplinary, using an eclectic mix of social and biological sciences, including neurology and social psychology, chemical toxicology and anthropology. Alcohol is a powerful chemical and it shares a long and storied relationship with our species. Taverns are vital, but neuro-consciousness and intoxication are the stars of this thesis. Alcohol is the great Silent American Actor and it will be treated as such throughout this work.




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