Alcohol abuse was a great concern at the beginning of the nineteenth century. Drinking had always been prevalent in America, and was equated with hospitality and sociability. Men drank at home, at work, in taverns, and at public celebrations. Women drank at home and alcoholic beverages were shared with children. But after the Revolution, economic and social change led to a marked increase in the consumption of distilled spirits, particularly whiskey, which was domestically produced, cheap and plentiful. It was generally agreed that the United States had the largest per-capita consumption of alcohol in the world and the country became known as “a nation of drunkards.” Alcohol addiction affected all classes, men, women, and even children. The consequent depravity is graphically illustrated in the barroom scene on the cover of the National Temperance Almanac for 1836.

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