History of Legal and Illegal Drugs from 1700 to 1800 A.D.

About the history of legal and illegal drugs from 1700 to 1800 A.D. in particular the Gin Act, Boston Tea Party, Whiskey Rebellion, opium and more.

A Synoptic History of the Promotion and Prohibition of Drugs

1717 Liquor licenses in Middlesex, England, are granted only to those who "would take oaths of allegiance and of belief in the King's supremacy over the Church."

1736 The Gin Act (England) is enacted with the avowed objects of making spirits "come so dear to the consumer that the poor will not be able to launch out into an excessive use of them." This effort results in general lawbreaking and fails to halt the steady rise in the consumption of even legally produced and sold liquor.

1745 The magistrates of one London division demand that "publicans and wine-merchants should swear that they anathematized the doctrine of Transubstantiation."

1762 Thomas Dover, an English physician, introduces his prescription for a "diaphoretic powder," which he recommends mainly for the treatment of gout. Soon named "Dover's powder," this compound becomes one of the most widely used opium preparations during the next 150 years.

1770 Women in New England organize boycotts against tea imported from Britain; some of these associations call themselves "Daughters of Liberty," their members pledging themselves not to drink tea until after the Revenue Act is repealed. They also popularize various tea substitutes such as brews of raspberry, sage, and birch leaves--the most popular of which, made from the 4-leaved loosestrife, is called "Liberty Tea."

1773 To protest [British tea policies], a band of Bostonians, dressed as Mohawk Indians, boards 3 British ships in Boston Harbor and throws overboard 342 chests of tea (December 16, 1773). This episode leads to the passage of the Coercive Acts (1774) by the British Parliament, which in turn leads to the assembly of the 1st Continental Congress (September 5, 1774) and to the War of Independence and the birth of the U.S. as a nation.

1785 Benjamin Rush publishes his Inquiry into the Effects of Ardent Spirits on the Human Body and Mind; in it, he calls the intemperate use of distilled spirits a "disease," and estimates the annual rate of death due to alcoholism in the U.S. as "not less than 4,000 people" in a population then of less than 4 million.

1789 The 1st American temperance society is formed in Litchfield, Conn.

1790 Benjamin Rush persuades his associates at the Philadelphia College of Physicians to send an appeal to Congress to "impose such heavy duties upon all distilled spirits as shall be effective to restrain their intemperate use in the country."

1792 The 1st prohibitory laws against opium in China are promulgated. The punishment decreed for keepers of opium shops is strangulation.

1794 The Whiskey Rebellion, a protest by farmers in western Pennsylvania against a Federal tax on liquor, breaks out and is put down by overwhelming force sent into the area by George Washington.

1797 Samuel Taylor Coleridge writes "Kubla Khan" while under the influence of opium.

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