Signs of Sin Everywhere: Alehouses, Alchohol, Drugs, and More
No one was happy about the apparent social anarchy evident in London and elsewhere. Many Englishmen believed the collapse of traditional institutions to be divine punishment for Charles’s death. Advocates of political change, of course, viewed the current social unrest as God’s punishment for England’s toleration of popery and Catholicism. But even supporters of the revolution feared that the fragmenting of organized religion constituted a dangerous slide into anarchy. The seemingly sudden appearance of sects and religious charlatans provided yet another sign that society was unable to control its dangerous fringe elements and would soon prove impotent to impose even the simplest standards of law and order. The increasing religious and political radicalization of officers in the army was nothing short of alarming, especially since the government depended upon the army for its own stability. Many people also believed that there was a decline in social ethics and that personal morality was going unchecked. There was an increase in crime, or so people believed; there was in increase in prostitution, or so people believed; there was an increase in alcoholism, or so people believed. There were vagrants and masterless men and women everywhere and no signs that society could heal itself anywhere. In short, the process of disintegration, which had already affected the dismantling of state and church, was now visible in society at large. There were, in other words, signs of sin everywhere. Only a further revolution in morality, or, alternately, a return to monarchy, could rectify England’s woes.
KeywordsPublic Moral Gastric Distress Moral Reform Revolutionary Government Simple Standard
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