Analysis Of Sharon Vs. Salinger 's ' The, Taverns And Drinking On Early America '

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Sharon V. Salinger, Taverns and Drinking in Early America (Maryland: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2002)

Most aspects of colonial life in early America are well talked about: housing, food, daily routine, religion, etc. One of the more glossed over, yet interesting topics, is that of colonial drinking and the taverns in which it takes place. Why did colonial Americans enjoy drinking so much? In Sharon V. Salinger’s, Taverns and Drinking in Early America, she outlines how drinking traditions started and how it affected daily life and the impact it had on the people of early America. Salinger’s overview of the origins and developed habits of drinking in early America provides insight to the different purposes the activity and taverns in …show more content…

The overview of taverns and drinking and their great impact on daily life is obvious in the evidence and narration Salinger provides. She uses a journal written by Thomas Jefferson to explain how deeply entrenched in their daily lives taverns and drinking were: “Thomas Jefferson noted with alarm that cheap distilled spirits were “spreading through the mass of our citizens,” yet he is credited with inventing the presidential cocktail party”(3). Despite any negativity surrounding drinking, its growth in popularity was unstoppable. She also adds the fact that ‘water was considered an unsafe beverage’, which partially explains the reason for alcohol’s rise to popularity and appearance in the daily lives of early Americans. This increase in drinking also lead to the tavern culture and the need to regulate it, which brings in the lawmaking side.
The thesis of Salinger’s book and research states, “Colonial taverns and hotels that developed from elite taverns manifested an American society that maintained segregation in public by race, gender, and class”(245). Essentially, over the course of the eighteenth century colonial taverns grew exclusionary, in time serving certain sections of society rather than the whole community. She writes even at the very beginning of the text of the separation: “In the urban taverns that served a middle class and elite clientele, men gathered on a regular basis to transact business, argue over issues of local politics, or share a convivial

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