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Whiskey Rebellion (Essay Sample)

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Name: Course: Professor: Date: The Whiskey Rebellion. From time immemorial people have always found ways to express their dissatisfaction in supporting certain decisions. The most popular way of expressing their contempt especially against the government was through protests and riots. The Whiskey Rebellion is among the first rebellions to occur America .It occurred between 1791 and 1794, during the presidency of George Washington. The rebellion was started by wheat and corn farmers who were resisting the introduction of an excise tax. This event was crucial in forming the emergence of political parties and the success of the federal government in the United States of America. Alexander Hamilton understood the importance of making the right decision so that he would sustain the new life the country had just attained. In order to create a self- reliant and effective government, Hamilton who was then the Treasury Secretary knew the importance of having a steady and reliable source of income. To achieve this mission, he introduced excise tax on whiskey. This tax was imposed on farmers who used the left-over’s of corn and wheat to make whiskey. The new bill was signed into law in 1791. After the new federal government had started its operation in 1789, upon the ratification of the United States Constitution, the government was undergoing a debt crisis amounting to $54 million. This crisis came about as a result of the inability of the previous government to collect taxes under the control of the Articles of Confederation .ms. this inadequacy, forced the government officials to borrow money and concession to run it. To solve the liquidity problem, Alexander Hamilton, knew the only way to increase revenue would be through the introduction of new taxes, a decision that was rescinded by the citizens, more so those one in the western states of Pennsylvania (Hogeland 28). During this period, several citizens disagreed with the decision and felt that the newly formed government was making their lives unbearable through the introduction of new taxes. This resistance drove the farmers to resist from paying any new tax that was being introduced by the government. The most affected region included the Western states of Pennsylvania, where the economic practise of distilling whiskey and selling its products thrived. The farmers in these regions vowed not to pay the taxes regardless of the effort put in by the government to force them into abiding by the new tax law. The regional tax inspectors, fuelled the government grievances because instead of siding with it, they helped the farmers escape from paying the tax. The resistance by the local farmers grew in intensity and had started to spread to other states. It was at this time the Treasury Secretary knew that the resistance would continue to spread and destabilise the country if it was dealt with in the shortest time possible. In July of 1794, a joined force of farmers who had not been affected by the whiskey tax attacked the home of the tax inspector destroying personal effects and wealth. The government officials knew that if the rebellion was not handled in time, then the newly formed states would lose confidence in the government that had just been formed. Hamilton advocated the forceful seizure of the rebels but the then President George Washington, advised for dialogue. The latter did not bore any fruit forcing the president to adopt Hamilton’s view. In July, 1794, militia troops of 13,000 people led by Hamilton and Henry Lee, who was the Virginia governor and others from Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Washington marched into the Western states of Pennsylvania to arrest the situation (Hogeland 23). During the incidence, most rebels learnt of the plan by the central government and escaped on time. Due to this, there was no fierce confrontation. However, 20 of the rebels were arrested though they were later pardoned by the president. Approximately, twelve men died out of illness and injuries sustained during the attack. This attack by the government and the fleeing of the rebels proved the capability of the government to control any form of insurgency that would rise against it peaceful coexistence in all the member states. The event also contributed to the formation of political parties in the US, it acted as a catalyst to a process that had begun taking shape. The tax was repealed when a new political party, Thomas Jefferson’s replaced the Hamilton’s Federalist Party. Despite the success achieved in controlling the growth of the rebellion to other parts of the country and suppressing its initiators, the collection of the whiskey tax remained a difficult venture to accomplish. Majority of the westerners still refused to pay the tax and tax evasion was highly experienced in this areas. Their resistance and complains led to the formation of parties that later on shaped the political structure of the country. The rebellion also raised questions related to what kind of associations of protests were permissible under the new law. Furthermore, the sovereignty of the member states also raised questions, Christian Fritz , one of the early legal historians in the United States, led the masses in putting their point across that ,despite the formation of the United States of America, the people still enjoyed “ collective sovereign” and had a right to change the law that governed them. The whiskey rebellion changed the mind-set of the Federalist, who stopped challenging the freedom and assembly by citizens of any cadre and the right to petition. Before the catastrophe occurred, the government tried...
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