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We Are What We DrinkThe Temperance Battle in Minnesota$
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Sabine N. Meyer

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780252039355

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252039355.001.0001

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(p.198) Conclusion
We Are What We Drink

Sabine N. Meyer

University of Illinois Press

This conclusion ponders the question of whether we are really what we drink by reviewing the insights gained from the analysis of the interwoven and constantly interacting identity discourses, among them ethnic identity, gender, class, civic and religious identity, within Minnesota's temperance movement and by reflecting on the repercussions of these insights on our understanding of identity. The temperance movement served as a catalyst of ethnic identity construction and negotiation for both German and Irish Americans. It caused German Americans to invent and Irish Americans to renegotiate their ethnic identities and to reposition themselves in the Anglo-American society. Intense intraethnic debates on the role of liquor and liquor consumption and the many exhortations and appeals of Irish American temperance reformers fractured long-held beliefs that excessive alcohol consumption was respectable and an integral constituent of Irishness. The campaigns for or against liquor also contributed to the construction of a female public identity and influenced the shape of civic identity in Minnesota.

Keywords:   ethnic identity, gender, religious identity, Minnesota, temperance movement, Irish Americans, German Americans, temperance reform, female public identity, civic identity

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