Colonialism, Consumption, and Control: The Illinois Country Liquor Trade, 1750-1803
The liquor trade has been a popular topic of study for many historians examining colonial North America. Due to the detrimental impact alcohol had on Indigenous societies, this historiography has focused on the relationship between Indigenous drinking, cultural degradation, and demographic destitution, which contributed to the establishment of European hegemony in North America. Breaking away from this Euro-centric narrative, this thesis uses liquor as an analytical lens to re-evaluate how colonial society functioned on the ground over the Illinois Country’s successive French, Spanish, British, and American regimes between 1750 and 1803. This examination of the liquor trade reveals that despite colonial discourses of superiority, colonial authority was restricted in the Illinois Country. Colonized Indigenous and French Creole inhabitants retained the power to shape the Illinois Country’s organization and development over the region’s four colonial regimes.
liquor, liquor trade, Illinois Country, Native-Newcomer Relations
Master of Arts (M.A.)