Which “craze” that swept through Britain in the mid eighteenth century was blamed for social breakdown and crime across the nation?

Answer: The Gin Craze. Changes in tariffs made beer expensive, while after the Glorious Revolution (1788), it became an act of loyalty to drink Protestant gin rather than Catholic brandy. This led to mass overconsumption as sections of the population who had never drunk spirits before were consuming as much as two pints of gin a week.

Source: London, A Social History by Roy Porter

More at: History

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