Rum Punch and Revolution: Taverngoing and Public Life in Eighteenth-Century Philadelphia / Edition 1

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Overview

Rum Punch and Revolution
Taverngoing and Public Life in Eighteenth-Century Philadelphia
Peter Thompson

"A gold mine. . . . The author creates a fascinating story, rich in tidbits and anecdotes."--Choice

"A marvelous book about an important, interesting, and diverting subject."--American Historical Review

"Thompson is surely right about the long term change: the class stratification of tavern culture did cause some people to stop hearing voices with contrary opinions."--William and Mary Quarterly

"An important, provocative book."--Labour/Le Travail

'Twas Honest old Noah first planted the Vine
And mended his morals by drinking its Wine.
--from a drinking song by Benjamin Franklin

There were, Peter Thompson notes, some one hundred and fifty synonyms for inebriation in common use in colonial Philadelphia and, on the eve of the Revolution, just as many licensed drinking establishments. Clearly, eighteenth-century Philadelphians were drawn to the tavern. In addition to the obvious lure of the liquor, taverns offered overnight accommodations, meals, and stabling for visitors. They also served as places to gossip, gamble, find work, make trades, and gather news.

In Rum Punch and Revolution, Thompson shows how the public houses provided a setting in which Philadelphians from all walks of life revealed their characters and ideas as nowhere else. He takes the reader into the cramped confines of the colonial bar room, describing the friendships, misunderstandings and conflicts which were generated among the city's drinkers and investigates the profitability of running a tavern in a city which, until independence, set maximum prices on the cost of drinks and services in its public houses.

Taverngoing, Thompson writes, fostered a sense of citizenship that influenced political debate in colonial Philadelphia and became an issue in the city's revolution. Opinionated and profoundly undeferential, taverngoers did more than drink; they forced their political leaders to consider whether and how public opinion could be represented in the counsels of a newly independent nation.

Peter Thompson is Sydney Mayer Lecturer in Early American History at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of St. Cross College.

Early American Studies
1998 | 296 pages | 6 x 9 | 21 illus.
ISBN 978-0-8122-1664-6 | Paper | $26.50s | £17.50
World Rights | American History

Short copy:

Opinionated and profoundly undeferential, taverngoers did more than drink; they forced their political leaders to consider whether and how public opinion could be represented in the counsels of a newly independent nation.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"A gold mine. . . . The author creates a fascinating story, rich in tidbits and anecdotes."—Choice

"A marvelous book about an important, interesting, and diverting subject."—American Historical Review

"Thompson is surely right about the long term change: the class stratification of tavern culture did cause some people to stop hearing voices with contrary opinions."—William and Mary Quarterly

"An important, provocative book."—Labour/Le Travail

Early American Studies
Peter Thompson shows how opinionated and undeferential taverngoers in colonial Philadelphia did more than drink—they forced their political leaders to consider whether and how public opinion could be represented in the counsels of a newly independent nation.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780812216646
  • Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press, Inc.
  • Publication date: 12/28/1998
  • Series: Early American Studies Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 296
  • Sales rank: 496,622
  • Product dimensions: 8.90 (w) x 6.00 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Peter Thompson is Sydney Mayer Lecturer in Early American History at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of St. Cross College.
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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Introduction 1
1 "For Strangers and Workmen": The Origins and Development of Philadelphia's Tavern Trade 21
2 "Contrived for Entertainment": Running a Tavern in Colonial Philadelphia 52
3 "Company Divided into Committees": Taverngoing in Colonial Philadelphia 75
4 "Of Great Presumption": Public Houses, Public Culture, and the Political Life of Colonial Philadelphia 111
5 "Councils of State": Philadelphia's Taverns and the American Revolution 145
Epilogue: "All the Apparatus of Eastern Fable" 182
List of Abbreviations 205
Notes 207
Selected Bibliography 249
Acknowledgments 257
Index of Tavernkeepers, Petitioners for Tavern Licenses, and Public Houses 259
General Index 261
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