The Gin Act in England - 1751

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The Gin Act in England - 1751

The judgments for and against the Gin Act of 1751 in England are distinctly separated into two divergent groups: those supportive of the act, and those wholly opposed to the motion. Many beheld the Gin Act as a resource to offset the significant negative impacts caused by the over-consumption of gin. Others believed the act violated the individual’s right to own and control property and would convey a negative impact on England’s trade and economic statuses. (5) The Preamble of the Gin Act of 1751, therefore, disregards economic concerns to purely express the social concerns of excessive gin drinking and addresses its detriment to British society by way of health, morals, and productivity.

Those opposed to the Gin Act were primarily concerned with the negative economic impact it would generate. The introduction of the Gin Act would undermine English entrepreneurs, businesses, and multitudes of families whose livelihoods depended on a vigorous gin market. (4) Additionally, the gin trade was beneficial to the English economy in that Britain’s output of grain was far greater than the people or cattle could consume and gin production provided a remedy to carry off the excess grain. (2) Some argued that gin had slowly developed into an important part of English economy and also culture. Drinking gin was not a crime, although religious peoples saw public drunkenness as a sinful act. In turn, the religious community favored the Gin Act due to their belief that it would limit and restrict immorality caused by drunkenness. (10) Others against the act, however, believed an occasional drink was necessary upon many occasions for the relief of the cold, foggy climate of England. (8) One Member of Parliament opposed to the act reasoned that the Crown would suffer an ample amount with the act in place. The gin tax generated 70, 000 pounds per year to His Majesty. The proposed Gin Act would raise the fees so high that no person would be...
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