Lowering the Drinking Age

Essay by petmydogHigh School, 12th gradeB+, February 2009

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It is legal for eighteen year-olds to die for their country, it is legal for eighteen year-olds to marry, and it is legal fore eighteen year-olds to vote. Why then isn't it legal for eighteen year-olds to drink? Throughout history, people have always wanted what they couldn’t get. Since the 1970’s, this is the approach most lawmakers in America have taken with respect to underage drinking. It was at this time that many states changed the legal drinking age from 18 to 21. This needs to change.

If young adults are old enough to smoke, vote, join the army, marry, or even die for your country, the right to drink should be also included in that list. The United States is one of the only western nations on the planet in which the drinking age is over 18. In most cultures, drinking is perceived as a social activity. In Europe, many children begin drinking in a social context with their parents by the early to mid-teens.

In France, many families include wine as a part of the daily dinner, and in England, it is legal for a person to have an alcoholic beverage, in a public restaurant, with a parent, at the age of 16. Unfortunately, in the US, the people who made the laws did not consider that responsibility is something that comes from experience and teaching – not just age. Europeans teach their children to drink responsibly, whereas in America, children grow up being told that alcohol is deadly and very harmful. So what happens? Kids are drilled for years about the harmful effects of alcohol, yet often see adults drink. The result is that when these children grow into teenagers, their curiosity heightens, and they raise their glasses without knowing quite what they are doing. These teens...