By Jeremy Agnew
This ebook explores the position and effect of drink and medication (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 historical past that heavy ingesting and drug abuse turned a massive social problem. ingesting was once thought of to be an approved 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 dependancy through girls used to be normal. This ebook provides the history of either elements and the way their use unfold around the West, at the start for medicinal purposes--but how overuse and abuse ended in the Temperance circulation and at last to nationwide Prohibition. This booklet stories the historic fact of alcohol and opium use within the outdated West with no bias.
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Extra resources for Alcohol and Opium in the Old West: Use, Abuse and Influence
The Chinese originally used much of their opium for medicinal purposes and ingested it by mouth. This changed around 1620 when Portuguese and Dutch sailors who visited China introduced the new habit of smoking tobacco. Around 1650, sailors started to mix opium with tobacco in the belief that this practice prevented malaria. Tobacco smoking became so popular in China that the Chinese emperor Tsung Chen prohibited it. Unfortunately the ban backﬁred. The Chinese continued to smoke, but because they now couldn’t use tobacco, they smoked plain opium instead.
1 percent alcohol) rum. To ensure One. The Demon Rum and Other Drinks of Choice 23 that the rum was not diluted with water, it was “proofed” by pouring it on gunpowder and setting the mixture on ﬁre. ” The origin of distilled spirits is lost somewhere in ancient history. Distillation of alcohol was known to have been used in China, Japan, and India as long ago as several thousand years. The Greek philosopher Aristotle described wine distillation in his writings. Distilling was also known to the ancient Egyptians and to Arabian scientists though, ironically, Arabs were prohibited from drinking fermented beverages and distilled alcohol for religious reasons.
By the late 1600s, smoking opium had become rampant. The Dutch bought cheap opium from India through the Dutch East India Company and traded it with China. 11 Ironically, then, the habit of smoking opium was ﬁrst introduced to China by Westerners, but then, as we will see later, Chinese laborers introduced smoking opium to the Old West when they immigrated to California. The British, seeing a lucrative trade opportunity, formed the British East India Company in 1600 and started trading in China in the 1670s.
Alcohol and Opium in the Old West: Use, Abuse and Influence by Jeremy Agnew