Reflection #2: The Whiskey Wars That Left Brooklyn in Ruins

This article helped clarify the relationship between taxation and criminalization.Ā Reminscent of the Boston Tea Party, the idea of tax for businesses such as distilleries induced a criminal like lifestyle. Despite it’s legality, the sudden tax increase of alcohol was quite absurd,Ā Ā from $2 – $30. That amount (equivalent in today’s terms) was enough to send Irishtown, or what was Vinegar Hill “over the hills”, whereby the creation of an underground ring for importing and exporting liquor feasible. Irishtown was conveniently located next to a port, which was perfect for smuggling. Street gangs, sailors and smugglers were born, as corruption rings in the police force were also apparent.

The presence of corruption did not limit itself to Vinegar Hill, but instead showed itself to be a prime example here. Allegations were found as far the White House, which makes the readerĀ understand the breadth and urgency of taxation. I found this article not only to be entertaining and informative, but as a great piece to commemorate Vinegar Hill’s rich history. However, I’m a little disappointed in how the author summarized the deterioration of the Irishtown ring, as I wish Dalzell was more descriptive about it. Also, I wish Dalzell included more forms of documentation within the article (i.e Whiskey labels, distillery images, maps of the raids etc.)


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