Featured Exhibition in the National Archives Museum's Lawrence F. O'Brien Gallery
Spirited Republic: Alcohol in American History
“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.
Past Featured Exhibits
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For two weeks in fall 1962, with the leaders of the two superpowers locked in a standoff, the world teetered on the brink of thermonuclear war. Soviet Premier Nikita Krushchev had secretly deployed a nuclear strike force in Cuba, just 90 miles from the United States. When President John... Read more
Food. We love it, fear it, and obsess about it. We demand that our government ensure that it is safe, cheap, and abundant. In response, the Federal Government has been a factor in the production, regulation, research, innovation, and economics of our food supply. It has also attempted, with... Read more
Lee Puey You was detained on Angel Island for 20 months before being deported under the Chinese Exclusion Act; 20 years after her first landing in America, she succeeded in becoming a U.S. citizen. Young Rock Fee was placed aboard a ship and deported to China after immigration officials... Read more
In the spring of 2003, just days after Coalition forces took over Baghdad, 16 American soldiers assigned to search for nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons entered Saddam Hussein’s flooded intelligence building. In the basement, under four feet of water, they found thousands of books and documents... Read more