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History of the Portland Rum Riot: A Spirit Worth Rioting over

Posted by Poppy Milliken on

History of the Portland Rum Riot: A Spirit Worth Rioting over

On June 2nd, 1855 the working class residents of Portland, Maine discovered their teetotaling mayor Neal Dow was storing $1600 worth of rum inside City Hall. Citizens gathered outside the building that evening expecting to see the arrest of Mayor Dow. What they got instead was a riot that left one man dead, seven others wounded, permanently damaged Dow’s political career, and ultimately led to the end of Maine’s first experiment with temperance in 1856. Perhaps these early entries in the temperance movement are why 21st century Mainers have swung so far to the other side of the aisle. Distiller...

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