Americans today would certainly protest if the government shutdown most ways of having fun because of outside threats to the country. But as war with Britain was looming, that's exactly what the Continental Congress did on October 20, 1774 -- issuing an order that the colonies, in their words: "discourage all horse racing and all kinds of gaming, cock fighting, exhibitions of shows, plays, and other expensive diversions and entertainments." Today, we spend a lot on entertainment. More than 23 million people go to horse races each year, nearly 70 million attend live music concerts, and we buy more than $53 billion of lottery tickets annually.
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