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Abraham Lincoln

America's drunk history

America's drunk history

Consider this a "trigger warning": The following essay may disturb and upset your view of American history, a history mostly written by scholarly types who distill vast amounts of research into erudite narratives. The trouble with their reverence and their gravitas is that they tend to leave out the interesting bits: sex, food and, especially, alcohol.

The effect of drinking on our national story begins with the Pilgrims, a desperate group of scrappy immigrant refugees who landed illegally on Cape Cod, although their charter from King James was for Virginia. They had to land; they were running out of beer.

"We could not now take time for further search and...