Back To CourseHealth 102: Substance Abuse
15 chapters | 139 lessons
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Lisa has taught at all levels from kindergarten to college and has a master's degree in human relations.
You are an archaeologist working in Syria in 2001. You dig up a cache of clay tablets. Upon translation of the tablets, you learn that you have unearthed a 3,800-year-old recipe for brewing beer. There are many other examples that date back even farther. There is evidence of alcoholic beverages in ancient Egypt, Europe, China, India, and South America.
Alcoholic beverages have obviously been around for a while, but has the use of alcohol always been subject to regulation? It might surprise you to learn that regulation has been around since ancient times as well. The first known recorded set of laws, the Code of Hammurabi, lists rules and regulations regarding the drinking and sale of alcohol dating back to around 2000 BC.
Alcohol has played a role in America as well. The early colonists who settled in America brought alcohol with them. The lack of water purification techniques made drinking alcoholic beverages safer than drinking water at the time. Because of this, drinking alcohol was an activity accepted by nearly everyone. Both children and adults drank alcohol, and you would even find it served at breakfast.
Unfortunately, some colonists began to let their drinking get out of hand. There may have been widespread acceptance of drinking but not of drinking too much. This was the beginning of a controversial relationship with alcohol in America.
Eventually, concern over excess drinking led to the temperance movement. The temperance movement was a social movement that urged restraint in the consumption of alcoholic beverages. The early stages of the temperance movement in America began around 1800. Posters warned of the evils of alcohol, and protesters picketed outside of taverns. One lively protester is even reported to have stormed taverns and hacked open barrels of mead with an axe.
The temperance movement in America ultimately evolved into a push for the total prohibition of alcohol. Around 1900, a political party was formed by prohibitionists. By 1920, there was some form of legal prohibition of alcohol in 33 states, and prohibitionists were ready to act on a national scale. This resulted in the addition of the 18th Amendment to the Constitution, which made it illegal to make, sell, or ship alcohol anywhere in the United States.
However, the 18th Amendment did not prevent the consumption of alcohol. Instead, it actually led to other problems for society. Alcohol was still made and sold illegally. The money involved in the illegal sale of alcohol led to the rise of organized crime. These mobsters fought with police for control in many United States cities.
Before long, most people wanted an end to Prohibition. Alcohol consumption may have declined somewhat, but the turmoil was too high a price to pay. Even those who were against drinking wanted the law changed. Within 13 years, alcohol was made legal again with 21st Amendment to the Constitution, which repealed the 18th Amendment. From this time on, each state set its own rules about who could make, sell, and consume alcohol.
The way alcohol is legally regulated in each state varies, and in some instances, regulation is passed on to the county or other local governing bodies. For example, a county government may enact a law prohibiting the sale of alcohol within county borders.
There's one important thing that state laws have in common. In all states today, a legal drinking age of 21 has been established. This means that it is illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to purchase or consume alcoholic beverages in the United States. Also, while each state establishes its own laws about the use of alcohol, there are some federal regulations that still exist. For example, federal government regulates how alcohol can be advertised and determines the labeling requirements for alcoholic beverages.
There are also taxes on alcohol purchases. These taxes have been around for quite awhile and have played an important role in the history of the United States. In fact, the first tax collected by the newly formed United States was an excise tax on distilled spirits. This tax was requested by Alexander Hamilton on behalf of the U.S. Treasury agency and used to pay off the debts that were incurred during the Revolutionary War.
The result of this tax was the Whiskey Rebellion, an uprising against the tax in Pennsylvania. This was the first test of the strength of the federal government. Troops were sent to stop the rebellion, and the federal government claimed its legitimacy with little resistance.
Today, each state has different tax rates for alcohol purchases, as well as a federal excise tax, which is still imposed on all alcoholic beverages sold in the United States. Typically, the tax rate is higher for hard liquor than for beer or wine.
Alcoholic beverages have existed and have been regulated since ancient times. Drinking an alcoholic beverage was safer than drinking water and was an acceptable practice for nearly everyone. However, it was not acceptable when a person drank too much.
This concern led to a social movement that urged restraint in the consumption of alcoholic beverages, called the temperance movement. In America, the temperance movement evolved into a push for the total prohibition of alcohol. Eventually, the 18th Amendment to the Constitution made it illegal to make, sell, or ship alcohol anywhere in the United States.
Unfortunately, making alcohol illegal caused some unwanted effects in society, such as the rise of organized crime. The 21st Amendment to the Constitution repealed the 18th Amendment just 13 years later.
Today, each state makes its own laws about who can make, sell, and consume alcohol. One law they all have in common is that it's illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to purchase or consume alcoholic beverages. Some federal regulations still exist as well, such as the regulation of how alcohol can be advertised and the labeling requirements for alcoholic beverages.
Alcohol taxation has played an important part in our nation's history, and today there is still a federal excise tax on alcoholic beverages. In addition, state governments set their own tax rates on alcohol.
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Back To CourseHealth 102: Substance Abuse
15 chapters | 139 lessons