James Nicholls / The Politics of Alcohol: A History of the Drink Question in England Intro & Ch 1 / 2009

Introduction. At the outbreak of the first world war, the Prime Minister of England ranked drink as a greater threat than Austria and Germany combined. High-water mark of drink as a political concern. For a sutdy of the “high politics” of drink see Greenaway. Key claim is drink stimulates public debate and exposes cultural and political tension. Chapter 1 – A Monstrous Plant – Alcohol and the Reformation. 1628, A Monster Late Found Out and Discovered, Richard Rawlidge. Decried social disorder up, public morality down. 1552 Licensing Act, legislative control of alehouses. Religious attacks vs. alcohol, accompanied the Reformation. Early 1600s anti-alehouse legislation, fear of political plots in taverns. This earliest period of ant-alcohol legislation centered on threat of social and political disorder. At same time, alehouse numbers rose, and organized brewing industry developed.

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