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Spirited Republic: Alcohol in American History

Dates: Friday, March 6, 2015 - Sunday, January 10, 2016

Location: Lawrence F. O'Brien Gallery, National Archives Museum, Washington, DC

“Spirited Republic” is the National Archives Museum’s latest special exhibition, and explores the role of the government and alcohol in American society.

Dating back to the documents listing the wine that Lewis & Clark took on their expedition — and the spirits George Washington and his generals rationed during the Revolutionary War to motivate soldiers — this exhibition walks visitors through various moments of public debate, from the Civil War and Prohibition (and its repeal) to the 20th century when various alcohol and health public service campaigns were mounted.

Over the course of our history, Americans have engaged in debates about alcohol and its place in our society. Government programs and policies have ranged from promoting drink-related industries to warning of the health dangers of drinking and driving, to outright prohibition of alcohol manufacturing and sales. Few issues have generated such passion among citizens in addition to government interest.

Alcohol-related records in the holdings of the National Archives include posters, government created films, patent drawings, artifacts, and petitions. “Spirited Republic” explores the surprising role of the Federal Government in regulating, promoting, investigating, and prohibiting alcohol production, sale, and consumption.

Spirited Republic is presented in part by the National Archives Foundation through the generous support of :
Lawrence F. O’Brien Family

The Tasting Panel Magazine
Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America

Additional exhibition funding provided by the Beer Institute, the Distilled Spirits Council of the U.S., the National Alcohol Beverage Control Association, and the National Beer Wholesalers Association.