Insurrection also known as The Whiskey Rebellion was a very impactful movement
that took place in the western part of the United States. This rebellion took
place around the 1700’s during the presidency of George Washington. This was a
very big turning point in the history of the United States.
problems started when the national government passed various laws and policies
taxing whiskey. This taxing was apart of Alexander Hamilton’s plan to
centralize and fund national debt. The whiskey taxing was frowned upon by small
farmers in the western part of the United States. People of the western
frontier used violence to protest against the taxing and the government. They
tried to prevent the government from collecting the taxes. In July of 1794, a US
Marshal showed up in Pennsylvania to hand out writs to everyone who refused to
obey the law and pay the taxes on whiskey. The Whiskey Rebellion showed that
the national government had the power and ability to put an end to violence
with the laws. The excise was still very difficult to collect from civilians.
This played a big part in the development of political parties in the US.
government under the Articles of Confederation was unable to collect taxes, and
therefore went into debt. The government had to borrow money to meet the
expenses, in attempt to get the US out of debt. A new government began
operating in 1789, after the constitution was ratified. Alexander Hamilton
promoted excise tax, even though taxes were very uncommon. He believed that this
was a luxury tax. He did have his supporters. Some people believed that by
doing this, many people would see the negative effects of alcohol and what it
could do to someone. The Whiskey Act became a law in March of 1791.
caused a lot of problems in the west. Western farmers argued that this law
targeted the westerners specifically. For poor people, whiskey was a huge
source of income, so without it, they didn’t have much money at all. Whiskey
was a very common drink among farmers. Most of them operated small stills, and
that is where most of their income came from. Majority of the westerners
petitioned against whiskey excise. As a result of these petitions and all of
the conflicts, the act was changed a little. This included a one cent reduction in the tax.
the west depended on whiskey and their stills for their income. Whiskey was
responsible for most of the income that they receive. They thought of this law
as an attack on their liberty and well being. They tried to tar and feather the
federal revenue officials. A big group of distillers in the west, had warrants
out for their arrest for not complying with the tax. Distillers were taxed
based on the size of their stills.
rebellion started in Pittsburg, when angry farmers took a tax collector out of
his bed, stripped him at a blacksmith shop, and burned him. Over the years,
many tax collectors were beaten and abused. National debt was increasing
because tax was so hard to collect in the northeastern part of the US. The
Whiskey Rebellion was the first major taxing on domestic product. This was the
first real challenge of the authority of the government. Trying to collect the
taxes became very violent and dangerous because of all of the people who
disagreed. Farmers started beating, terrorizing, and intimidating the tax
collectors so they would be afraid to stop collecting taxes. This is how they
tried to stop it.
Rebellion allowed change and the US to establish a federal authority. President
Washington used soldiers to stop people from rebelling, which was one way the
government used its power. Another way
the government showed its power is by the federalist party losing support to
the people. The Wealthy People agreed with Washington and supported his
decision. This let Washington know that it was a good move and the right
tax on whiskey threatened the stability of the US government. President
Washington was forced to lead soldiers to the west in order to stop the
rebellion. They attempted to stop people from rebelling against this. In 1791,
the United States suffered from national debt, which led to the Revolutionary
The Whiskey Rebellion was a very impactful time period in American history. It
brought many new ideas and ways of thinking to the United States. So many
farmers going westward disagreed with the taxing on whiskey, since stills were
their main source of income. Most of their families depended on stills to make
a living. When whiskey was being taxed it made them angry, so they rebelled.
They protested, like many people do with something wrong and unfair like this
happens. Tax was so hard to collect, so therefore America went into debt, which
ended up leading to the American Revolution.