Pilgrims And Prohibition

They struggled against it just like we do today:

Our collective mythmaking about the Pilgrims and their pious conservatism does not make room for this image of the colony. Pilgrims are hard-working, religious, pious people to us, and Americans are intoxicated with this puritanical vision of past. We don’t see Plymouth as a party town, but as the birthplace of our best selves.

And yet alcohol was everywhere. The Mayflower had been stocked with more beer than water, as well as cider, wine, and aqua vitae, a form of distilled brandy. The first Thanksgiving included thanks for a successful barley crop, which allowed for the brewing of beer, and aqua vitae, or “strong water,” was used to smooth over discussions with the Wampanogs. Alcohol was essential to the survival of the colony, both as a drink and a currency, and a great deal of energy and time was dedicated to lawmaking and law enforcing surrounding the making, selling, and drinking of alcohol.