When Rorabaugh wrote The Alcoholic Republic in 1979, political history was society’s main focus. The purpose of his book was to inform society about an important time in American and do so in a completely different style. Rorabaugh writes The Alcoholic Republic from the perspective of a social historian which was relatively new for the time. He states that, “American historians traditionally have focused upon political events, especially upon such obvious turning points as the Revolution and Civil War, with the consequence that life during the years between those wars has often been ignored.” Over time, society has ignored many aspects of history that are considered negative simply because they think if they do not give attention to the sub...
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...ic illuminates just how prevalent drinking was in the early years of the United States. William Rorabaugh does a good job of shining a light on a part of our history that many people are completely unaware of. His choice to write the book from the social history view provides a refreshing view of the times compared to the usual historical perspective. Rorabaugh uses many anecdotes to immerse his reader in first hand accounts during the very period he is writing about. Where he ultimately falls short is in his statistics. He admits that finding a single source that can provide accurate data from the early 1800’s is nearly impossible and proceeds to make his best effort at providing the most accurate statistics he can accumulate. How much Americans drank in the early 1800’s is hard to quantify, but one thing is for certain; they definitely drank their fair share.
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