When looking retrospectively at the nineteenth and twentieth centuries it is easy to recognize the numerous inventions that helped shape mankind into its present form. Inventions like electricity, the assembly line, cars and trains, the telephone and so on. We see the influence that these inventions have on us every day, because life as we know it is dependant upon these items. They play an intricate role in defining and explaining who we are as individuals, but they also define what is America or American culture. There were other items, however, that were introduced to American culture during this time period that are as important to America as the famous inventions noted before, yet they were not as public as the others nor were they as universally accepted as good. These items were mind bending narcotics, drugs that changed people’s perception of the world around them. Although they did not have as wide of an influence as did the wholesome inventions, those narcotics still played an intricate role in defining and creating the American culture we know today. Many different types of narcotics have been used all over the world for centuries. The Chinese have smoked Opium for thousands of years, the native Americans have always used both Peyote and hallucinogenic mushrooms for religious purposes and the Rastifarians have used Marijuana as a prayer tool since the beginning of their bloodline. But narcotics were not used by most Caucasoid peoples whose lineage came form Europe until the twentieth century. Before that their only narcotic was alcohol. But once these narcotics were introduced to the general American public they integrated themselves into our culture. It is ironic that the drugs that are strictly illegal today were not always looked down upon. Opium was introduced to the American public around the beginning of the 1800’s. Between the years of 1840-1890 per capita consumption of opiates increased at a …
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