Download Alcohol and Opium in the Old West: Use, Abuse and Influence by Jeremy Agnew PDF

By Jeremy Agnew

This e-book explores the function and impression of drink and medicine (primarily opium) within the previous West, which for this publication is taken into account to be the USA west of the Mississippi from the California gold rush of the 1840s to the final of the Western Frontier in approximately 1900. this era used to be the 1st time in American background that heavy consuming and drug abuse grew to become a big social main issue. consuming was once thought of to be an authorised pursuit for males on the time. Smoking opium used to be thought of to be deviant and linked to teams at the fringes of mainstream society, yet opium use and habit by means of ladies used to be typical. This e-book provides the heritage of either ingredients and the way their use unfold around the West, at the beginning for medicinal purposes--but how overuse and abuse ended in the Temperance circulate and at last to nationwide Prohibition. This ebook studies the historic fact of alcohol and opium use within the previous West with out bias.

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Extra info for Alcohol and Opium in the Old West: Use, Abuse and Influence

Sample text

As another example, the high alcoholic content of brandy was produced by distilling wine. 30 In making brandy, for example, a closed container of wine was heated at a low enough temperature that the alcohol in it boiled but the water did not. The alcohol evaporated like steam. This vapor was condensed back into a liquid by cooling it and collecting the resulting spirits. In this way much of the water was removed from the original wine and the resulting liquid was concentrated to a level of 40 to 50 percent ethanol.

It consisted of raw alcohol, a plug of tobacco, some prune juice for color and taste, and a dash of strychnine to give it a kick. Bootleggers and Moonshine As well as making counterfeit liquor by adding various substances to raw alcohol, making the raw ethanol itself was popular in the West. 45 During colonial times distilling whiskey for home use was not illegal and was carried out on thousands of farms. It was not until 1862 that making whiskey without a federal license (which was really a tax to help pay for the Civil War) became a federal offense.

The drug was used in ancient Greece both for religious ceremonies and to heal illness. The opium plant was a symbol for Demeter, the Greek goddess of fertility and the protector of marriage. Married women who were childless often wore jewelry shaped like the seedpod of the opium plant, hoping by this to induce pregnancy. D. 150 the Greek physician Galen recommended the use of opium to take away pain, to stop coughing, to relieve stomach problems, and to induce sleep. He called it the strongest of the drugs that stupify the senses and induce sleep.

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