Temperance and prohibition were hot issues in the 1850s and early 1860s. The “drys” tended to hog the floor because then as now, it was politically difficult to express public affection for the pleasures and benefits of drink.
The editors of the La Crosse, Wisconsin Union were having none of it. As far as they were concerned, the problem with Americans, especially women, was that they didn’t drink enough beer.
“Queen Victoria,” the newspaper pointed out, “has raised eight or ten babies, and drinks beer. German women drink beer and are as robust as any women in the world.”
There is no denying the fact . . . that our total abstinence American women are sadly degenerating, and that the present race of Young America are dwindling, compared with generations past. The most ridiculous thing of our time is to hear little, sallow, ‘dried up’ men and women making an immense blow about the vices and indulgences of the community, when one good, rollicking fast-liver could clean out a regiment of them in ten minutes.
Source: The La Crosse, Wisconsin Union, as quoted in the Milwaukee Sentinel, March 3, 1860, p. 2.