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Rum Maniacs – Alcoholic Insanity in the Early American Republic - Chicago Scholarship Online
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Rum Maniacs: Alcoholic Insanity in the Early American Republic

Matthew Warner Osborn


Rum Maniacs traces how alcoholic insanity became a subject of medical interest, social controversy, and perverse fascination in the early American republic. At the heart of that story is the history of delirium tremens and the vivid hallucinations that characterize the disease. First described in 1813, delirium tremens marked the beginning of the dramatic intervention of the American medical profession into the social response to alcohol abuse. Long before doctors began using the terms “alcoholism” or “addiction,” studying and treating delirium tremens changed how the medical profession observ ... More

Keywords: Delirium tremens, Addiction, Alcoholism, Disease, Early American Republic, Insanity, Popular culture, Temperance, Health Reform, Poverty

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2014 Print ISBN-13: 9780226099897
Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2014 DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226099927.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Matthew Warner Osborn, author