Suffragettes, Booze and the Income Tax
You wouldn’t know it growing up in the rural “dry” county that I did, but America’s not so distant history is soaked in booze. Soaked, I tell you. This column came out some months back, but it’s one of my all time favorites from Mr. Will. Rediscover the origins of plea bargaining, NASCAR, Las Vegas, the federal income tax, and large-scale American organized crime. And probably why oil paintings of the Founding Fathers invariably portray rosy cheeks.
And this is pretty much all the suffragettes’ fault. You heard me.
John Adams’s morning eye-opener was a tankard of hard cider; James Madison drank a pint of whiskey daily; by 1830, adult per capita consumption was the equivalent of 90 bottles of 80-proof liquor annually. (emphasis mine)
To my mind, it’s one of the most fascinating connect-the-dots, social-to-political progressions in American history. Looking back, it should have been easy to see how the dominoes would fall. But that didn’t stop it from happening anyway.