Proof logo

10 Famous Politicians Who Were Alcoholics

Over the years, there were many politicians who were alcoholics. Some were great, some were awful, but many were downright unforgettable.

By Cato ConroyPublished 5 years ago 5 min read

There are very few vices that are as common as alcohol. It's been featured in many different movies, television shows, plays, and books. Drinking was once such a problem, it actually caused a political movement for its prohibition.

There may have been a reason why Prohibition didn't work though—and why it just hasn't been possible to get humanity to quit the hooch. It could be that alcohol seems to be a politician's best friend.

Throughout the centuries, many different politicians who were alcoholics made history. Many of them even gained notoriety for their love of the bottle, even though their drinking fame is forgotten today.

You might not know it, and you might not believe it, but these famous politicians were huge drinkers. Recognize any names you read in history books?

King Henry VIII was as hedonistic as any British monarch could be, and he was also one of the most powerful politicians of his time. Known for towering at six feet tall and having an appetite for massive dinners, involving as many as 13 courses.

Considering his appetite, it's not surprising that he ranks among famous historic politicians who were alcoholics. According a recent study, the royal boozer's alcohol bill would run at approximately $7.8 million dollars per year.

Ulysses S. Grant

General Grant was known as one of the best Union generals in the American Civil War, and regularly gained respect for his fearless behavior. When the war ended, it didn't take too long for Grant to become president of the United States.

As with many politicians who were alcoholics, his political work often took a backseat to his booze. If he didn't have whiskey in hand, he wasn't a happy guy. Truth be told, he was a far better general than a president—but no matter who you ask, he was a damn good drinker.

A lot of people assume that presidential drinking habits do not really cross over into the 20th century, but that'd be a poor assumption to make. It seems to be that it's just hidden a little better these days.

One of the more recent drinkers in the Oval Office is Lyndon B. Johnson. An avid fan of booze, his secretary likened his drinking to "a robotic arm" that wouldn't ever quit.

George Washington

George Washington was a huge fan of one of the most popular presidential drinks ever: wine. The Founding Father was celebrated for giving each of his troops a cup of rum as part of their daily disbursement, and also became known for his love of French wine.

When Americans teamed up against the British with France, he was known for comparing notes on wine with his French envoys. C'est magnifique!

At the time of his election, Winston Churchill was the most unpopular prime minister in UK history. By the end, he was one of the most beloved politicians in history—and really, who could blame us for loving him? He fought Hitler, taught a parrot to say "Fuck the Nazis," and also was hilariously quick-witted.

He was also almost always inebriated during his tenure as PM. In fact, the close alliance America had with British was forged during extreme late-night benders between Churchill and FDR. White House staffers called them "the Winston hours."

He's one of the greatest political characters out there, and also a serious drinker. Coincidence? We think not.

Richard Nixon

Richard Nixon wasn't just one of the most hated politicians who were alcoholics during their terms in office; he was an all-around addict. White House staffers noted that the guy who is "not a crook" was known for drinking to the point of slurring his speech and acting out.

It didn't take too much booze to make Nixon nuts. Due to his addiction to sleeping pills and mood stabilizers, it'd only take him one or two drinks to make him become unmanageable.

Awkward as it is, Nixon was also known for drunk-dialing members of the White House staff. One can only imagine what they must have heard!

William Pitt was a British politician and a general who became famous in the Revolutionary War. He also was one of the most well-known politicians who were alcoholics in Parliament at the time.

His most epic drunk moment came when he drank three entire bottles of port wine, then promptly vomited right behind the Speaker's chair in the middle of a Parliamentary meeting.

The fact that he drank so much port isn't surprising. It was considered to be a masculine feat, and one of the earlier examples of toxic masculinity you can find in history. Fraternities would be proud!

Selim II

Selim II is one of the very few Arabic politicians who were alcoholics as well. As the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, Selim lived a life of cushy partying and being able to have whatever he wanted. Unfortunately, that also meant that no one could stop him from drinking.

Soon, he became known as "Selim the Drunkard." His poor political choices and lackadaisical attitude towards leadership, often due to being too drunk to function, caused the empire's downfall.

Mustafa Kemal Atatürk is the man who founded the country of Turkey, and is considered to be one of the greatest national heroes Turkey has ever had. As luck would have it, he was also known for being a seriously hard drinker, too.

His favorite drink of choice, raki, is now considered the country's national liquor. Though he was a highly functioning alcoholic, it's impossible to ignore the amount of substance abuse he enjoyed.

Tiberius Caesar

Emperor Tiberius was a bit of a trainwreck, but that's to be expected during the days of Rome. Roman emperors, if nothing else, were almost guaranteed to be extreme hedonists that did all sorts of crazy things.

Almost all Roman emperors were politicians who were alcoholics, sex addicts, and, to a point, even drug addicts. That being said, Tiberius really couldn't keep it under control.

His alcohol problem caused him to become way more interested in booze and orgies than ruling his empire. He became so inebriated, he declared another boozer, Caligula, to become emperor after his death.


About the Creator

Cato Conroy

Cato Conroy is a Manhattan-based writer who yearns for a better world. He loves to write about politics, news reports, and interesting innovations that will impact the way we live.

Reader insights

Be the first to share your insights about this piece.

How does it work?

Add your insights


There are no comments for this story

Be the first to respond and start the conversation.

Sign in to comment

    Find us on social media

    Miscellaneous links

    • Explore
    • Contact
    • Privacy Policy
    • Terms of Use
    • Support

    © 2023 Creatd, Inc. All Rights Reserved.