About Alcoholism - Alcoholism Information, Research and Treatment

The Drinking-Law Muddle

The paradoxes of the attitude toward drunks and drinking are many. In 1619, for example, when the colony of Virginia was a mere 12 years old, it adopted legislation that encouraged the establishment of wineries and distilleries.

But in that same year the identical lawmakers enacted another law. It read that any person publicly drunk for the first time was to be privately reproved by a minister of God. The second drunkenness would call for a public admonishment. The drunk would be punished by being made to "lye in halter" (the stocks) for 12 hours and to pay a fine.

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