Pick Up Some Beer for a Long Weekend: The American History Guys on Alcohol

Points readers may have noticed that since the hot weather began, we are no longer observing our usual OCD practice of “new content daily,” but instead enjoying a rather “slack-ademic” posting schedule.  This will certainly be the case for the next few days as we gear up to celebrate Independence Day– as Floridians your editorial team will observe the holiday by setting off massive fireworks displays in the backyard while drinking icy cold malt liquor.

This Is Not Your Points Editors, but It Could (Should?) Be

For those who simply must have some alcohol and drugs history to get them through the weekend, we suggest checking out the most recent episode of the excellent radio documentary, “BackStory with the American History Guys.” Its entitled “Cheers and Jeers: Alcohol in America.”  (Also available in podcast form at the itunes store.)  The History Guys have the following to say about this production:

The cliche may be  that apple pie is the most quintessentially American of foods but, in truth, hard apple cider might stake a more rightful claim to that title. Alcohol and our taste for it has shaped this country from its inception, when the founding fathers themselves played a role in encouraging our national hankering for the hard stuff: Jefferson loved his hard cider and wine, Washington had a thing for rum, and Benjamin Franklin loved it all so much he compiled a list of 228 synonyms for “drunk” into what is known as “The Drinker’s Dictionary.”

In this hour of BackStory, we’re all about the boozin’.  Along the way, we ask when and why consumption and production has ebbed and flowed. We  look at why rum became the drink of choice among revolutionary troops, explore why American Indians were rejecting alcohol two centuries before the rest of the country, and follow the long march toward Prohibition. Originally produced a few years ago, this episode has been revised to include new segments and reflect fresh insight into the subject.

Guests Include:

  • Sarah Hand Meacham, Associate Professor of History at Virginia Commonwealth University
  • James Morone, Professor of Political Science and Urban Studies, Brown University
  • Peter Mancall, Professor of History and Anthropology, University of Southern California