General Question

rexpresso's avatar

What is "frontier drinking"?

Asked by rexpresso (920points) August 31st, 2010

Just read about it here:
http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1816475,00.html
But couldn’t find anything defining it online.
Thanks

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

6 Answers

anartist's avatar

The rough and rowdy world of frontier saloons. Cowboys busting up the joint. Only ladies around weren’t ladies. Manners of civilization left behind in the east. Probably also lousy likker.

aprilsimnel's avatar

The first thing that came to mind was that the lack of East Coast-type civilization forced folks whe wanted to drink into making awful bathtub gin and rotgut.

lillycoyote's avatar

From this article It looks like “frontier drinking,” at least according to this article refers to I guess a kind of binge drinking, a pattern of drinking “of trappers, and traders, and soldiers. These people would themselves sometimes go long periods without access to alcohol, but in the rendezvous and trading would go through drunken episodes of violence and drinking.”

also, from this source

“several occupational groups such as loggers, miners, cowboys, sheepherders, farm workers and sailors practiced “frontier drinking’’ (Straus &Bacon, 1953), to seek tension release through an intense drinking spree after weeks or months of continuous hard physical la-bor. The cultural conflict between the lifestyle of the single men and the mores of the family-oriented community has beendocumented for the Barbary Coast of San Francisco and for the original Skid Row in Seattle. The sharp difference of valuesof these groups led to intense conflict; which was a factor in the Prohibition movement (Rooney, 1970).

I’ve gone and overdone again, haven’t I?

BoBo1946's avatar

@lillycoyote exactly…not much to do back during those times. Go to the salon, get drunk, and fight.

Took a trip to Jackson Hole, Wy. several years ago and this salon, we sit on saddles, instead of chairs. Pretty cool.. The cowboys would come into the salon and they would make sure everyone heard them. Talked with this one cowboys and he had broken his back not once, but twice. Interesting life, but tough.

rexpresso's avatar

Fascinating to read you all, thank you!

JubalHarshaw's avatar

In context the author of the article was referring to the binge drinking in rural areas that the other responders have described. He then goes on to mention the drinking in urban slums, where the wage-earners would drink up their meager pay at the corner saloon, then stagger home to beat the wife and kids. These are two narratives used by the reforming prohibitionists prior to 1920.

The point the author is making is that total prohibition of underage drinking only makes it wickedly enticing. Instead of drinking in moderation under supervised conditions, teens sneak off to the gravel pit and get shitfaced. In comparison, children in continental Europe are introduced to alcohol early in the home environment so drinking doesn’t have the rebellion or rite-of-passage cachet that it does in the US.

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