Late last night, I was browsing the web while trying (in vain) to fall asleep I came across some old article on HuffPo questioning whether or not the Founding Fathers of America were full blown alcoholics. I ended up on that article after reading up on how much the Founding Fathers despised each other. Like, these bros couldn’t stand the sight of one another and it’s a goddamn miracle our country ever came to be, that’s how much they hated one another.
With the heated political climate in America over the past week, it seems like this is one of those historical times you can point say ‘history is cyclical, see, we’ve been like this before’. Another thing I’ve noticed over the last week is constant chatter of people needing to drown their election sorrows in grandpa’s old cough medicine. Which brings me to the topic at hand: were the Founding Fathers of America full blown alcoholics?
All the way back in 1787, two nights prior to signing the Constitution, 55 delegates went out drinking and because we here in America have a great history of keeping copies of outrageous bar tabs for the public record we know just how much booze those 55 delegates drank that night before signing the Constitution two days later.
via The Huffington Post:
How do we know the founding fathers as a group drank a lot? Well, for one thing, we have records of their imbibing. In 1787, two days before they signed off on the Constitution, the 55 delegates to the Constitutional Convention partied at a tavern. According to the bill preserved from the evening, they drank 54 bottles of Madeira, 60 bottles of claret, eight of whiskey, 22 of porter, eight of hard cider, 12 of beer and seven bowls of alcoholic punch.
That’s more than two bottles of fruit of the vine, plus a few shots and a lot of punch and beer, for every delegate. Clearly, that’s humanly impossible. Except, you see, across the country during the Colonial era, the average American consumed many times as much beverage alcohol as contemporary Americans do. Getting drunk – but not losing control – was simply socially accepted.
That’s a shit ton of hooch. More booze than any NFL team could drink in a week. If you’re not familiar with Madeira it’s a sweet wine similar to Port, it’s one of my favorite after dinner drinks, and it was immensely popular in Colonial Times. So just think of that ’54 bottles’ number like bottles of highly alcoholic Port Wine if you need a better sense of how much booze it is…That’s nearly 1 bottle per delegate before you get to the 60 bottles of Claret, over one bottle per person, and Claret is a Bordeaux Wine that’s also pretty strong. So we’re talking 2 bottles of wine per person, 8 FULL BOTTLES OF WHISKEY…and the list keeps going on and on.
I’m not willing to call anyone an alcoholic based on one night of drinking, but that’s a seriously impressive bar tab, one that puts this bar tab from the Dallas Cowboys’ Bye Week at a steakhouse to shame.
[h/t Huffington Post]