In Rum: A Social and Sociable History of the Real Spirit of 1776, Ian Williams sets forth the thesis that the United States was established on a foundation of rum.
The Caribbean island of Barbados, being the furthest east, was the first stop for most European ships during the settling of the US.
By the time George Washington came though Barbados, the island colonists had their own Assembly, the Crown had agreed to no taxation without representation for them, their head of the senate was referred to as the President, and their sugar plantations were manned with African slaves. None of these circumstances went unnoticed by Mr. Washington.
From the book, one gets the impression our forefathers were a quite inebriated a great deal of the time. According to the author, each freeman in the US colonies drank an average of three pints of rum a week, along with whatever other alcohol he had available.
An interesting and sometimes verbose work, Rum is filled with enough tidbits about rum, its preparation, and its history to impress any fan of the beverage.