The Events Surrounding the Whiskey Rebellion

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The Events Surrounding the Whiskey Rebellion

For hundreds of years, there have been many reasons for citizens to feel like they were being taken advantage of by their government. The biggest source of these exploited feelings seems to be taxes. Now, when citizens feel like they are taken advantage of, there seems to be 2 ways that they deal with it: they accept it and pay their taxes, or they get angry until the whispers of rebellion are heard ‘round the country. A great example of a rebellion caused by taxes was the Whiskey Rebellion. This rebellion led to the people’s wary of the power of the federal government. Although not known my many people, the Whiskey Rebellion of 1794 had intense effects on the history of the United States including the importance of the federal government.

The Whiskey Rebellion had been simmering for several years before breaking out in 1794. After the Revolutionary War, the government agreed to take over the debt of the states only if the nation's capital could move from Philadelphia south to a swamp area on the Potomac which we today call Washington, D.C. (anonymous). In order to help pay the debts, the Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton put an excise tax on all liquor sold in the United States of 25%. The famers in the southwestern states below New York relied on their whiskey production for their source of money. This was because transporting liquor was much easier to transport than as grain.(Rothbard) So, this tax was disputed greatly by farmers.

This unpopular tax represented a big hassle of federal authority at the time. Thomas Jefferson, in fact, resigned from his post as Secretary Of State, due to one reason being his protest against the whiskey tax. After Jefferson's resignation, he helped form the Democratic-Republican Party. This party supported states’ rights against the power of the federal government, which led to the fall of the Federalist party of Washington and Hamilton (anonymous “Whiskey...
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