Today's History Lesson: The Whiskey Rebellion

Today's History Lesson: The Whiskey Rebellion


213 years ago, American citizens rose up in protest against the federal government. What were they protesting about? Whiskey! In order to decrease debts, the newly formed US government imposed a hefty (6-9 cents) tax on whiskey producers. Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton came up with the idea to tax the whiskey makers per gallon, with the large producers paying a lower tax and the small producers paying a higher tax. Most of the small time whiskey manufacturers were immigrants, poorer farmers, or frontiersmen. Angered by the tax, they rose up in a rebellion that formed on today's date, 1794. To stop the action, President George Washington used martial law to call a 12,950 man militia to suppress the rebellion (he actually commanded the soldiers!). The Whiskey Rebellion is a pivotal moment in US history because it is the first time the government has used military force on its own citizens.

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