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tv   Taverns of Pre- Revolutionary New York City  CSPAN  November 30, 2014 12:55pm-1:55pm EST

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at 6:00 and 10 a clock p.m. today, a house historian and carried her use artifacts and photographs to trace the history of women in the house, beginning with an election in 1917 and ending with the story of margaret chase smith, today at 6:00 and 10:00 p.m. eastern here on c-span3. >> next, author and brooklyn college professor benjamin carp examines the link between alcohol and politics in pre-revolutionary new york city. and central meeting places, taverns stimulated discussion about policy and help foster a patriotic spirit leading up to the revolutionary war. this is an hour-long event. yeah, i feel like 13 toques would be an appropriate way to start this. if everybody has a drink or you
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will get in the spirited on january 3, 1725 of a john keats walked into drinks tavern on water street, is six-year-old loyalist from suffolk county -- 60-year-old loyalist. it was an odd place for a loyalist to be, a popular hangout for seamen, and jasper drake was the father-in-law of a patriot. case was invited into a , and they of politics decided to convince him his political views were wrong. when he would not back down, he was nearly pushed over with the force of their eloquence and noise. seeking to restore order to the conversation, he said, well, let's discuss the issues going back to the message of the stamp act. member of thea tavern company got annoyed with him and very impatient, and he said that, in connecticut, you
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would be put to death for those views. the patriots then said, we will not suffer a torry to sit in company with gentlemen, and they forced him to sit in a chair by the corner. slavecalled over a young and try to order him in the corner, as well, saying case belonged to the company of slaves because he was a slave to the british empire. but the young man knew better than to comply. the companies agreed that none would be allowed to speak with them. although case claims that anyone who spoke to him would have to a back penalty and treat the rest of the company to a drink. someone at that point threatened to brand his exide with a red-hot gridiron which would be very painful. wasthey did not because he
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60 years old. casey retreated from the tavern. a later newspaper accounts that order to convince them to the british constitution and see how dangerous a situation we should be and if the sons of liberty are severed to assume the lead in our public transactions. tourged his fellow subjects unite against such men whose actions proved that, instead of freedom, their aim is to establish disorder and anarchy. he is a loyalist and was trying to demonstrate that these are the types of people the revolutionaries are. my argument today is that during the revolutionary movement, taverns contributed in significant ways to politics, particularly in new york city. they welcomed people from all walks of life. they encouraged people, particularly white men, to get involved in that. taverns were also places that
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help the people of new york city communicate with people of other places, great britain, west indies, north america, and be on. finally, taverns existed, and this is where the title of my talk sums from, taverns existed on the fault line between order and disorder. this account tells us a lot significance in the years preceding the american revolution. case tried to engage in an orderly discussion about anterior politics. that is how you did that. but the patriots have their own notions about how to maintain order. they set up a drinking game, and effect. if you talk to the tories, you had to buy the whole crowd alcohol. he used classify people according to his own notions of the social order, and nothing that loyalist, like slaves, where beneath the light company. or may notter may
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have generated into threats and violence, but that was the risk he took sometimes when mixing alcohol with knowledge experience i have written two books on the ways americans became politically mobilized prior to the revolution. anymore recent book, i focused on the boston tea party. drink became the focus of political protest in boston and elsewhere. not because the tea was dumb to the harbor but because it involved boycotts. before i got interested in the tea party, i was interested in alcoholic drinks in the way taverns were important sites for political action. i focused on new york city. unify andways to both become dis-unified in taverns.
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their disagreements often spilled into the newspapers, like this article about the john case incident, and went into the streets. they encouraged civilized discourse and organized social clubs. everything else is needing to be regulated and shut down. there were various ways to try to impose order on the drinking altar of new york. despite these attempts to establish an orderly drinking toture and the attempt establish an orderly resistance to british policy, and drunkenness and violence were bound to accompany tavern life and the revolutionary movement. new yorkers had different views, and this became part of the tension that shaped the political culture.
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the resistance to great britain also encompassed drink and, as well as orderly mobilization. as new yorkers found mutual affirmation and tavern companies, political leaders attended to mobilize these tavern goers, rich, poor, orderly, and disorderly. colonial new york city was a and consumption of alcohol was staggering. americans over the age of 16 downed 6.6 gallons of alcohol per capita over the course of the year 1770. towards the end of the 20th century, it was about 2.8 gallons of alcohol per capita per adult. drinking was almost certainly more prevalent.
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new york merchants insisted any imported liquor be distilled at a high proof. -- new york merchants insisted their liquor be distilled at a high proof. visitors found new york more lively than philadelphia. [laughter] because it was a town run by quakers who were thought to be too stingy. one philadelphia and gun guest said the next generation of the new yorkers might consume the whole vintage of madeira wine. never do i believe, he said, there existed a city more thoroughly devoted to baucas. alexander hamilton, a different person from the secretary of the treasury. dr. hamilton, a scotsman observed among new yorkers, a man could not have a more sociable quality than to be poured down liquor while others sunk under the table. this was how you prove yourself
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in polite company, being able to drink everybody else under the table. new york city officials issued over 300 licenses between march of 1771 and 1772. new york had double the number of establishments than other large colonial cities. it is in many ways more of a drinking town of the other cities in north america. we are not talking very large. new york city has about 25,000 people at this time. new york city was unlike boston and philadelphia in other ways, unfettered by the cultural predominance of quakers or descendents of puritans. new york city's ethnically diverse population could find common ground over their desire to make money and also hanging out over bowls of punch and
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tankards of ale. public houses can be found throughout the city. they had a close relationship with commercial life. taverns sprang up with all parts of the city as a group, usually ahead of churches and other public buildings. it was easier to turn a house into a tavern and back again, much easier than establishing a church. new york's networks of taverns became pipelines for medication with the rest of the world -- for communication with the rest of the world. ships deposited the mail, gossip, and newspapers that found their way into the public houses. taverns were places for government business, job recruitment, military enlistment, and signing up for privateering. patrons could discuss matters of importance as news float among the transatlantic networks from london to new york and from new york to other cities.
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such networks would become vitally important as mechanisms for political mobilization. the same routes news and gossip and information are traveling, these are the same routes political news and propaganda are going to travel as the revolutionary movement unfolds. if you are in power as part of the imperial government, provincial government, or local government, how could you impose order on hundreds of taverns scattered throughout the city? new york government's past two types of laws regarding alcohol. one, those that sought to profit from alcohol and those that sought to prohibit from certain groups. the first made sure duties and fees were collected and licensed caverns kept in order the house according to the law. the mayors had the power to limit the number of establishments, this was not their goal.
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they raised revenues by encouraging drinking in new york city. the second type of law tried to curb disorder. you could not serve hard liquor to service. they could not take clothing or goods as a mentor you were not to bet on certain games. you could not sell drink's two locals on a sunday. you had to report the name and profession of out-of-town guests. new yorkers feared disorder that might arise from drinking among blacks. more than three slaves were not allowed to be together without their masters consent. you could not sell hard liquor to any black or slave without their masters permission. after the negro conspiracy of 1741, after this conspiracy among african-americans who
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supposedly burn down the city, the new york assembly tightened penalties for serving liquor to slaves because they said the public houses in which negroes had been entertained had been the principal instruments to their diabolical villainy. despite these regulations, blacks continue to find ways to gather and drink, often in the company of with whites. there is an attempt to regulate, but the laws are not perfect. there are a lot of violations. there are going to be prosecutions for keeping disorderly houses throughout the colonial period. one of the reasons whites were so worried about disorder among blacks was because they had witnessed the immorality and other disorders that had arisen among whites themselves in taverns. 18th-century sources reveal a constant tension between people comfortable with integration of drinking and those who were not. they knew alcohol might lead to the loss of self-control or weakening of controls over the community.
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moralists declared bawdy songs, gossip, and discussions of fashion would disconcert the modest. john adams when he visited new york said there is no conversation that is agreeable, no modesty, no attention to one another. they talk very loud, very fast, and altogether. [laughter] a new yorker would ask you a question and interrupt you before you got three words out. [laughter] these were adams' observations on his way to the first continental congress. he said there is very little good breeding to be found. i have not seen one good gentleman in the town. dr. alexander hamilton had said 30 years earlier the commonly held their heads higher than the rest of mankind and imagined few
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were more than their equals. i found this proceeded from their narrow notion, ignorance of the world. new yorkers were to provincial and arrogant to be able to see how provincial they were. [laughter] the cure for this jumble of taverns speech and lack of manners might be the establishment of certain kinds of informal order among tavern companies. drinking rituals or clubs, drunkenness helped to put everyone on equal footing. you are measured by how much you drink instead of helpers digits you were. -- how prestigious you were. the tavern and its social workers were potentially open to all. you were pressured into drinking for fear of attended -- offending the company. you could not sit out a toast or people would say you did not support what was being toasted. you had the opportunity to ingratiate yourself to strangers.
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new yorkers respected a man who could hold his liquor. newspaper satires get there is an inherent contradiction. they ridiculed orderly drunkenness. this freewheeling sense of equality while drinking was significant. it gave people a sense of belonging because taverns were places where visitors and residents mixed together. you could organize a social club. all of these could bring people together into local networks and connect them with transatlantic networks. these began to emerge in a big way in the 1740's. there were clubs for outlook usefulness. three presbyterian bloggers who have gone to yale formed a number of clubs that encouraged
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civic improvement hoping to raise new york up to the metropolitan standards of london. they began launching a number of projects. they founded the society for the promotion of useful knowledge followed by the new york society library. they also formed -- founded the form for legal discussion. perhaps 1/4 of new york's adult white male population belonged to voluntary associations like this, not including social clubs. after 1763, date added the hospital society, chamber of commerce, marine society, and the society of house carpenters. there were all kinds of clubs you could join as a way of keeping yourself organized in
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taverns. there would be drinking involved and it would be a good time. but some had other purposes as well. taverns were places where working new yorkers found rest and networks. the tavern on broadway was the unofficial headquarters. they could hitch horses and wagons. they could fetch mail and find out who is hiring. during the privateering craze, the captains of vessels would post recruitment notices in taverns. if you were a merchant, you can get clothing, small loans, and other services at a tavern. scottish philosopher david hume predicted men would flock into cities to receive and communicate knowledge, to show their wit or breeding. as club members, new yorkers might harness their private
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interests and individual pursuits of happiness to promote public benefits, civic spirit, and solidarity. the spirit of voluntary participation also became an important component of political mobilization in the decade preceding the revolution. they were part of the debate over representation and democracy. the author of the letters from an american farmer observed two problems with mixing alcohol and politics firsthand living in new york. taverns encouraged equality. he thought this was a bad thing. the frequent use of liquors and inebriation swells people with the idea of equality when they were talking with their betters. in this gives an american high opinion of himself, higher than deserved, because the average american only knew the rudiments of politics. he is saying most americans did
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not know much about politics. but they would start drinking and were swelled with a big opinion of themselves and start talking to their betters like they knew better. that is what distinguishes a monarchical system where everyone knows their place and a more democratic society where ordinary people are beginning to talk about and participate in politics. the second thing he observed was voters often judged portable candidates based on gossip. people neither know nor foresee what service this man will be to their country. the only way they are judging candidates for office is based on what they hear set of them in taverns and other public places. he thinks this is a bad thing. the way people learn whether a candidate was fit for office was not the proper ways to judge them but because they listened to tavern gossip, and that was how they were influenced. this is how we understand democracy nowadays.
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to him, it seemed new and strange. these are a couple of problems with tavern politicking. even the polite clubs were often prone to disorder even though many forbade clerical discussion. meetings often descended into chaos because of disagreements. critics became frustrated when new yorkers failed to observe the standards of politeness the clubs attempted to instill. alcohol was constantly confounding attempts to place social controls on new yorkers. as a result, successful new york politicians recognized it was better to operate among the beer houses than to try to rise above them. straitlaced presbyterians might poo-poo the idea of mixing liquor and politics, but this
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was disingenuous. taverns inspired feelings of individuality and equality by encouraging civic awareness and participation. the historian divides new york politicians into two types. the first, popular whigs, sociable gladhanders comfortable doing their politicking in taverns. the original fraunces tavern had been a mansion before they sold it. he bristled from his tavern going. he describes the politics of the next crowd as corresponding to a second kind of your politician who were more prudish and aloof. for them, a good evening was
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conversation with other educated men. both groups sought to use tavern sociability for political ends. by the 1760's, the divisions have become less relevant in your politics. both had reluctant dealings with the new leaders of the street and tavern. these were the liberty boys. mcdougall after years as a privateer captain kept a slop shop for sailors. sears had a father-in-law who's tavern i mentioned earlier. john lam must have had r business with retailers all over the city. a loyalist also sold wine and liquor. these are some of the most famous young liberty boys who drove the revolutionary movement.
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during the imperial crisis, these men would mobilize new yorkers in the places they knew best, taverns. they also faced the challenge of maintaining order among them. the imperial crisis created disorder in new york just as it did throughout north america. parliament's harsh implementation of order caused mobilization. new yorkers reacted to the stamp act with outrage. this was parliament's first attempt to tax the colonies under a new regime by placing stamped paper on playing cards and legal documents. they're going to threaten the groups most likely to complain, lawyers, printers, and people who hang out at taverns. this is a bad idea. you will see what happens. first, new yorkers threaten to attack the stamp officer from maryland in 1765.
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his landlady packs them off to fort george. when delegates from colonies convened in new york city during the stamp act congress in october of 17 685, john dickinson was among them. he wrote to his mother at a center will consume the greatest part of our afternoon. he was a straitlaced philadelphian. he is worried. this is how they were getting political business done. the day before the stamp act was to take effect, the merchant coffeehouse wrapped documents in black as a sign of mourning this would be the death of liberty. 200 merchants met and resolved they would import no goods from great britain until the stamp act was repealed.
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this would put pressure on british merchants to pressure parliament to repeal the act. the americans figured if we don't have representation, we will try and convince the people who do have representation. crowds paraded in front of the tavern. they broke lamps and windows. on november 1, the crowds paraded effigies of the lieutenant governor and the devil in front of the merchant'' coffeehouse. they destroyed the house of a british officer. eventually, upper-class new yorkers had to patrol the streets to quiet things down while the governor's council described these drunken threats as perfect anarchy. dual strains of orderly resistance and disorderly disruption were apparent in new york city. taverngoers did their best to impose order. using taverns to mobilize people
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was risky. once a drinking crowd emerged, you could never be sure you would be able to restore order. new york's culture of sociability could never be solely the province of the polite. elements of disorder fermented alongside beverages. pauline maier argued the stamp act crisis top leaders to try to contain disorder. -- taught top leaders to try to contain disorder. they must of been clear they could not rely on wishful, genteel standards as a way of directing the revolution. on november 25, 1765, leaders of the resistance called a general meeting at george burns tavern for the next day. persons of all ranks and conditions were welcomed. they assured the public that followed the strictest rules of society. in other words, this was an attempt to restore order to the
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stamp act protests by saying we are going to meet at a tavern, but we will make sure we keep things orderly. it will not be like the demonstrations on november 1 where things got out of hand. you see similar things in boston. in a connecticut tavern, two sons of liberty from new york city showed up and urged local radicals to join them in resisting the stamp act. the new york group which first met weekly at william howard's tavern established a committee and resolved we can see the general safety of the colonies and british constitution to depend on a firm union of the whole. this was the sons of liberty, a group that eventually stented to -- extended to all of the 13 colonies, in network of tavern resistance. it was reminiscence of the fraternity of tavern clubs. these were thought of as brotherly.
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these groups drew on tavern idioms of unity and masculine improvement that would come to characterize the revolutionary movement and institutions. new yorkers made it clear whose political opinions were welcome in the taverns. taverns were places where authority was largely absent. yet men could fortify each other with strong words and drink. the company of every well wisher to their country was acceptable, that language was meant to exclude as well as include. if you favor the stamp act, you were not a well-wisher to your country. therefore, you were not welcome. when the schoolmaster announced his support of the government, new yorkers told him plainly i should eat no more of their bread. he returns to england. as north america becomes more polarized, so did the city taverns. the sons of liberty did the best to maintain order, but new
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yorkers knew drunkenness and put -- political strife could threaten orderly -- political strife could threaten order. celebrations of the stamp act's repeal were held in two separate taverns that year. the sons of liberty managed to fight among one another. when one group tried to extend an orderly courtesy to the other, the companions debated whether the emissary should be shown the way out of the window. not all resistance meetings ran smoothly when drinking was involved. nevertheless, the sons of liberty seem to have accepted a certain level of disorder as the way of doing politics and taverns -- in taverns. things get heated between new yorkers and british troops. taverns often provided the fuel for disagreements.
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when business was booming and new yorkers were happy with their role in the british empire, interactions might be a source of imperial goodwill. soldiers were in town spending money. everybody was involved in a shared war effort. people might toast these things together. after the seventh year -- seven-years war hit, the depression stirred up suspicions and gave new ammunition to those who sought to counteract imperial encroachment. soldiers were thought to be estranged from the bonds of family and nation. they are just a pack of roving bachelors living a debauched life antithetical to liberty. soldiers without the antithetical to the notion of liberty. -- were thought to be
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antithetical to the notion of liberty. the council began to restrict the sale of liquor to his majesty's soldiers. soldiers sometimes stabbed tavern keepers and civilians while drunk and cut down the liberty poles which defiantly commemorated the stamp act's repealed. enraged new yorkers poured out of taverns to insult soldiers and officers and refused to admit them in their houses. soldiers attacked men in taverns. taverns are become focal points for these assertions of authority and control. the presbyterian triumvirate and moralists tried to hold true to ideals of lyrical mobilization -- political mobilization and sociability free of disorder, but they failed to recognize the reality of prerevolutionary new
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york. disorder, drunkenness, and writing more useful tools of mobilization -- rioting were useful tools of mobilization. they got together at taverns rather than expecting their elected representatives to solve their problems for them. by taking advantage of the beer houses, radical leaders were more successful than the moderates recruiting new yorkers in the clerical process. loyalists and conservative new yorkers attempted to mobilize against the radicals using taverns. taverns prove to be more useful to the radicals. they were more effective at fusing potent forces together into a weapon of cross class mobilization. lubricated rage on the one hand and ritual club life and orderly sociability on the other. these things could work in
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tandem to create an effective revolutionary movement. john case's complaints about drunken anarchy revealed the implicit recognition the whigs had become more effective at mobilizing in taverns. the word liberty had the power of intoxication in the colonies. others call themselves a friend to order or a sober citizen. radical whigs embraced social organization. this was a tricky game to play. moderate patriots hated it because they were trying to win concessions in parliament. these reports of drunken mobs sent to england sounded terrible to the overseas audience. there is tension in new york politics of some people trying to keep things orderly and other
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people willing to accept a little bit of drunken disorder. after fighting in lexington and concord, taverns served as recruitment centers for a militia that kept order and intercepted supplies for the british troops. taverns filled with americans who put down their mugs and picked up their muskets. in may of 1775, the crowd drank madeira and planned to rouse the president of king's college, shave his head, strip him, and banish him from the town. somebody warns him ahead of time and he fled to a british ship before the threat could be carried out. in june, willet led a crowd to relieve reduce troops of excess arms and ammunition. in march of 1776, a party of radicals drank rum and attacked
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the printing press of a loyalist printer printing responses to thomas payne's common sense. new yorkers were called reluctant revolutionaries. ultimately, new yorkers succeeded in mobilizing their counterparts to revolt. not all cities were like new york. they did not have the same diversity, factional climate of family rivalry, the same clash of ideologies. but in every town, tories and moderate retreats worried about this order. in every town, they dealt with the challenges of mobilization in different ways. most cities and even smaller towns succeeded in finding leaders who knew how to mobilize men in kevin culture -- tavern culture.
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in taverns, these leaders hosted committees that corresponded with her their counterparts in other towns. new york was a leader given its access to networks, drinking culture, and cultural pluralism. new york was a good hub for these relationships. to the extent americans and other cities reflected these laments, -- elements, they too participated in orderly and disorderly resistance. it fostered bonds among white men and encouraged an open debate of political issues as they gave rise to disorderly dissent to british authority. taverns allowed americans to separate from great britain. without taverns, it is difficult to conceive of how the revolution might have taken place. before questions, i want to talk about two incidents as an epilogue involving alcohol in the history of revolutionary new york city relevant to the revolution.
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the first was in the early morning hours of september 21, 1776, a few days after british troops occupied lower manhattan. a fire broke out at the tip of new york city, possibly at a tavern or behind it. this fire consumed 1/6 of the city. many patriots and historians have tried to argue the fire was an accident or the british started at themselves thank you it themselves -- it themselves. i have argued the americans started it themselves. a fire that started out at a tavern has a major impact on new york city by burning 1/6 of it down. this week, i was reading a manuscript about a famous legal case -- a well-known legal case among scholars.
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in 1784, alexander hamilton, the treasury secretary, represented a british occupant who was being sued by the brewhouse's owners for back rent. hamilton's argument set important resistance -- pre cedents. hamilton was a big defender of loyalists in the immediate aftermath of the revolution. we know about washington's farewell to his troops. all sorts of ways taverns are mixed into the revolutionary history of new york city. in that way, i think they are useful windows into politics and history. thanks very much. i am looking forward to your questions. [applause]
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in the back. >> were women allowed to go in these taverns? strictly men? >> that is a good question. most have earned companies -- tavern companies at the elite levels were meant for men. but women were present in taverns in all sorts of ways. women hung out in lower-class taverns. it was not a place for respectable women. working-class women could get away with more things. women were issued tavern licenses. this would go to widows as a way for them to make money. it was a kind of charitable work in the city. new york had a lower ratio of female liquor license holders
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than other cities on the seaboard. new york does not seem to have welcomed women into taverns in the same way. women might also be the spouse of the tavern proprietor. there would be serving girls serving patrons. women were often present in that respect. but they would not have been welcome at these clubs which tended to be men only affairs. there are other ways for women to participate in leisure activity. the tavern or coffeehouse was taught not to be a respectable -- a place for a respectable woman. up front. >> [indiscernible] appropriate gift for a tavern? looks they would have to be careful about the revolutionary history. >> it is a work of scholarship based on my dissertation. the tea party works better for a wider audience. i know a lot of college professors like the book. my comments today reflected the
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chapter from the book. in the back. >> was there anything like a drinking age? were children routinely served? >> i don't know that they would have been served hard liquor. they may have dropped a little -- drunk a little. keep in mind the water is bad. if you wanted to have something to drink, you either had to boil or ferment something for it to be possible -- potable. it is possible children were drinking lower proof alcohol with meals. we can only speculate. the only way i have seen in historical records children were starkly kept from drinking was apprentices were not supposed to
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be served hard liquor. apprentices were often younger boys. that would have been one way you would have restricted younger people from drinking. the specification was for hard liquor, not softer forms of alcohol. >> what was the preferred drinks? was it the same in boston and philly? >> i think so. boston and new york city are drawing closer together as a general culture during this time. the most popular drink would have been wrong -- rum distilled from molasses from the caribbean. beer and cider were local drinks and probably cheaper. wine tended to be a fancier drink, particularly the fortified wines. those would have been more upper-class things.
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scotch whiskey was not unheard of. you might see a bit of that. the hard liquor of choice in the 18th century in america was definitely rum because it was close at hand and there were distilleries up and down the east coast. often not drunk straight but mixed with sugar, fruits, other things. toddies would have been a mixed rum drink served warm during the winter months. the case incident took place in january. they would have been drinking toddies instead of a cooler refreshing drink. over there. >> i did a quick calculation.
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the average consumption came to about eight ounces of liquor per day. >> i did that myself. >> that is staggering depending on how you shot it. it could be eight shots a day. fraunces tavern is one of the only survivors of that period. what role did fraunces tavern play for the sons of liberty? where were these other taverns in relation to this one? >> i don't remember the exact addresses of other taverns i mentioned. sometimes the locations would move around. a proprietor might close shop in one location and open another crosstown. fraunces did that. this was the last of his new york taverns. prior to that, he was the proprietor of the queens head pre-revolution and then runs a pleasure garden establishment. fraunces himself moved around.
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it can be difficult to keep track of some of these taverns. in the newspapers, everyone just said across the street from this. everyone was supposed to know where that was. they moved around quite a bit. this would not have been -- this was the site of washington saying farewell to his troops. but it would not have been the site of samuel fraunces' tavern prior to the revolution. i think he winds up here later on. one of the things that skews the per day alcohol consumption is the figures for new york is mostly for imported alcohol. a lot of that probably went to new jersey as well. just because new york was the main port for new york and new jersey, difficult to measure the exact annual per capita consumption. in general, people drank more as part of their daily lives than we do today.
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over there. >> i was curious to know in terms of the ratio of ownership of the taverns, patriots versus loyalists, versus on a need to know basis. >> there is no way to know for certain. if i had to statistical -- statistical profiles of the tavern keepers, that we don't have good enough information about the tavern owners to know that. we know about some of the prominent places patriots met because they often were talked about in papers or in correspondence. we know there probably were more loyalist friendly taverns. trying to find concrete information might be someone else's project. i was not able to get a lot of concrete information. it is possible a lot of tavern
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keepers tried to say i am not of any lyrical persuasion -- political persuasion will not allow talking politics. i'm sure there were a lot of people just trying to make money, let's leave politics out of it. between 1765 and 1774, more people are being forced to make a choice one way or the other. you could imagine how various committees running things in new york could make life miserable for tavern keepers. we could imagine that kind of thing happened. i don't have a lot of concrete information about the ratios. they probably changed. people changed their minds during the period as well. >> the breakdown of loyalists' drinking traditions versus the patriots. actually what happened in the taverns.
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>> they are all the same people up until the end. >> [indiscernible] differences in what they were drinking, technically's became -- technically speaking. >> it is not as if the loyalists were some foreign nationality. these were the same people. they just see their interests as better served under the british empire were under the new patriot regime. they are the same people. i would not think there would be differences. the only differences are the ones i mentioned in my talk. if you are more conservative, you might be less comfortable with incorporating politics into the rituals because there was too much risk of a more democratic mindset. that is the main thing i would argue in response. in the back. >> differentiate between a tavern, inn, pub, and ordinary.
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was there any difference? >> as far as i'm concerned, those are synonyms. an urban tavern is different from a country tavern in that a country tavern might be a local place to govern but also a wayside for travelers. that was a crucial function. we could imagine in new york city even though a lot were welcoming visitors from overseas, a lot catered to local clientele. the difference would not be among those various terms. the difference would be there were even eat -- a late taverns -- elite taverns, middle-class establishments,. you had taverns that follow the same model as houses. below those, you had disorderly houses that were basically illegal.
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those were even sketchier. in theory, anyone could open up their living room and start hosting people on wednesday nights to begin drinking. but you ran the risk of getting busted if you did not have a license to sell alcohol. that is the difference. many of the people who held licenses may have just been retailing liquor and been more like a liquor store. it seems to be the case a lot of people could show up and do their drinking there. they might not want a container. they just might want enough to fortify themselves before they went about their date. some of this is murky. i tried to capture as much about new york drinking culture as i can. there are other books you can consult as well. >> did most serve food? was there a varied menu?
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>> the better class of establishing a served food -- the better class of establishments served food. they might try to attract patrons by advertising the things they had to eat. oysters were popular in new york city. it strikes me a lot of restaurants nowadays have tried to do research and reconstruct things that look like an 18th-century menu. we have some evidence about what these would have looked like. you can imagine various types of game, beef, fowl, turtle soup would have been popular. all sorts of different things. >> you were talking about the difference between boston, new york, and philadelphia. samuel fraunces came up in philadelphia. >> some historians have claimed things change after the revolution, that tavern society
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becomes more strictly stratified according to social class. what you see in the 19 century are things more like hotels where this kind of mixing was discouraged and it would be a more polite kind of thing. the politics of tavern keeping change a lot. at the time i was working on the book, it was a good book on philadelphia taverns by peter thompson called "rum punch and revolution." he talked about the philadelphia history. i made the claim new york city was a bigger drinking town. for him in philadelphia, there were arguments over regulations , how much drinking we should allow people to do, and whether they should restrict the number of taverns. new york was like, open as many taverns as you want. [inaudible]
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it is like anything else. if you have a good reputation for hospitality, you could make your way in the world. this is what it meant to be a member of the middle class in the 18th century. if you got the right kind of patronage, like paul revere making gold and silver objects for money, many of which you can still see in museums. you could do very well catering to that clientele. obviously, this was a skill that fraunces succeeded at. he took those skills with him to philadelphia where the was a lot of economic and political action in the aftermath of the revolution. >> the hierarchy like washington and jefferson, did they drink as much as the common person? >> absolutely. there was a class of people more prudish like john adams, who did not approve of doing a lot of drinking.
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there was a class of them that said no, high-minded men should not drink and i disapprove of my friends drinking. others had no problem with it. there were some known as being good company in that way. college students, if you read the records of colleges, they had problems with their students drinking all the time in the 18th century. most of those guys grew up to be the ministers and politicians and everything else -- grew up to be the ministers and politicians and everything else. drinking was common. you would drink at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. it was more of a drinking culture than we are used to. alcoholism was probably a problem. some of the theories i have read have said big problem drinking seems to increase after the revolution in a way that had not
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existed to the same degree in the colonial period. hard to know. there's probably research done i am not aware of yet. >> are women drinking the same amount as men? >> hard to know. it is possible. i have to imagine that home, beer and cider are being consumed by women as much. there's tea and coffee, but it is probably more expensive. if we assume the water was sometimes unsafe to drink, women had to drink something. i imagine probably proper ladies can find themselves more to beer and cider -- can find -- confined themselves more to beer and cider.
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they are not participating in this public culture of toasting and politics. the other thing we notice from court records. women are participating in cultures of prostitution and disorderly drinking and keeping disorderly houses. so women who did not have to worry about the reputation in the same way were probably drinking just as freely as the men. we know from trial records that kind of thing took place. maybe behind you. there may be someone who has not had a chance to ask a question. >> [indiscernible] >> common practice. it would be gross in tea, i think. >> was there any difference between the alcohol percentage?
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>> i am sure there is evidence for that. >> aside from food and drink, walking into a tavern today, are there any traditions that have transcended time? >> like i said before, if you go to colonial williamsburg, they try to make the recipes conform. there are other establishments in new york city, artisan cocktail making, where they try to harken back to those older recipes. that is a way to get a taste of 18th-century tavern culture. the chamber of commerce, the new
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york library society, sons of revolution, only a little bit later, those kinds of club survive. the rituals that were invented in the 18th century still survive. think about freemasons or something like that. that's another way people can experience something akin to the kinds of drinking culture that existed in the 18th century. [applause] >> you're watching american history tv, all we can, every weekend on c-span3. today, house of representatives useorian and curator artifacts and photographs to trace the history of women in the house, beginning with the election of jeanette rankin in 1817 and ending with the story
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