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In 1794 the Whiskey Rebellion intimidated the young united States. Farmers rioted end a federal taxes on whiskey. Albert Gallatin, a young politician and also entrepreneur, was among the men who operated to find a tranquil solution come the conflict. Gallatin to be living in his home, Friendship Hill, located in Fayette county Pennsylvania. The rebellion centered on 4 counties in western Pennsylvania, including Fayette. At the time the brand-new federal federal government of the United states of America to be located across the state in Philadelphia. Both the rebels and also the federalists in the brand-new government had actually economic and ideological reasons to act as they did. Pennsylvania was separated by mountains, and the politics and environment were very different in the eastern and the western components of the state, leading to strife.As a fun method to learn about this conflict you can take the Whiskey Rebellion: A political Opinion Quiz. V nine concerns you will recognize whether your opinion would have actually been favor the rebels’, federalists’ or moderates’ outlook.Click below to skip to question 1.


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In the 1790s there were no great roads throughout the Appalachian mountains making castle a obstacle to transportation. Ninety-six percent that the populace lived east of the mountains. Many of the westerners were negative farmers and also it was economical for them come distill the serial they thrived into whiskey. The whiskey to be worth an ext money than the grain, the weighed less (which was valuable when transporting it to market), it took up much less room and also it didn’t spoil.

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The United claims under the structure was only a few years old. The federal federal government wanted to pay ago the $25 million in blame the claims owed because that fighting the American Revolution. The state debt would become component of the federal debt and also it would be approximately the federal government to repay it. The Secretary of the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton, drafted a invoice to taxes distilled spirits, generally called the whiskey tax. There was heated debate, with virtually all the representatives of frontier districts the contrary it, however, the invoice passed right into in in march of 1791.


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This cross-section show the grain mash being boiled in pot until the alcohol vaporizes. The vapor climate travels though a coil within a cool water barrel wherein it condenses and comes out together whiskey. (Jake Koprowski, insomniagraphhics.com)

The taxes was written in together a means that big distillers paid less tax than tiny stills activate by famers. Stills had actually to it is in registered, and also not registering a still carried a very high fine.

The tax had actually to be payment in cash as soon as the whiskey to be distilled. Inspectors were come visit the still, collection the tax, then note the product and issue a certificate. The law additionally stated that world who violated it would be prosecuted in commonwealth court.


Historical fact:It’s no wonder the tax gained a nickname. Its main title to be “An plot repealing, ~ the critical day the June next, the duties heretofore laid upon Distilled spirits imported indigenous abroad, and also laying others in their stead; and additionally upon soul distilled in ~ the unified States, and for appropriating the same.“  
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The taxes was very divisive. Part frontiersmen west of the Appalachian hills would rebel over it. Castle were referred to as the “whiskey boys” or the rebels. The guys who ended up being rebels were virtually entirely disgruntled, bad farmers or landless workers. Most didn’t have actually a cow or a horse, and also many didn’t own a firearm.


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Tarring and feathering the taxation collector (The brand-new York windy Library)

The rebels had several grievances. Money was an extremely scarce, so western Pennsylvanians supplied whiskey as a kind of payment in exchange because that goods and also services. It was an integral part of their economy. Households used and also consumed lot of the whiskey castle produced. However, because it wasn’t sold, the tax couldn’t it is in passed ~ above the consumer and also put one undue load on the farmer. Bartering whiskey also left the farmer without any kind of cash to pay the tax.

The closest federal court, wherein distiller would be prosecuted for not paying the whiskey tax, to be a five-day ride away in Philadelphia, PA. Farmers that violated the legislation would need to be far from home and work because that weeks, and also finance that pilgrimage as well. Rebels thought it would lead to particular ruin.


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(National Park Service)

Other reasons the tax upset the rebels contained that whiskey was the just product the was taxed, west Pennsylvania manufactured twenty-five percent of all the whiskey distilled in the unified States and also the tax put an undue load on one region, and the higher tax price for the little distillers placed them at a disadvantage.

The rebels felt the distant federal government didn’t care about them or exactly how this taxation would devastate the region. They wonder why the federal government didn’t enact various other taxes, such together a floor tax, i beg your pardon would change the burden onto the east speculators that held large amounts of land. Ideologically, they dreamy of a floor where smaller sized farmers, laborers and also artisans can prosper; without huge banks, absent landowners and a meddling main government.


Historical Fact:Like many people on the cash-strapped frontier Albert Gallatin payment his workers at Friendship Hill through whiskey.  
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Supporters the the federal government were referred to as federalists. These world wanted to check out the young federal federal government succeed. They saw the whiskey tax as critical way come raise money the the brand-new government essential to thrive. To them the rebels’ refuse to obey the law and pay the tax was a major threat to the union.George Washington had actually been president of United states for two years once the tax passed. His Secretary of the Treasury, Hamilton, wrote the whiskey tax regulation and promoted for it together the method to repay the states’ war debt.


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(National Park Service)

Unmindful the the hardship the tax resulted in the west farmers, the federalists believed whiskey was a luxury people could live without. Hamilton suggested that the producers would pass the expense on to the consumers, for this reason the consumer paid the tax. He also didn’t think there to be a scarcity of cash and that the farmers were unable to pay the tax.Two different taxes had opponents. An effective and rich landowners didn’t want a land tax. Likewise, affluent merchants did no support rise to the import duties.


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Alexander Hamilton, Secretary of the Treasury. (National gallery of Art)

Hamilton said the taxation would be gathered everywhere and he to be not versus using force. John Neville, the taxes inspector because that western Pennsylvania and also the man supervising the region’s taxes collectors, was an effective and wealthy. His uncompromising insistence top top compliance furious violence.The federalists envisioned a nation where the wealthy supported industrialization and also spurred economic growth. A land where the United states credit to be trusted, so the nation could grow. They believed in a strong main government.


Historical Fact:

President George Washington owned 60,000 acres of floor west that the Appalachian Mountains and also was protest a soil tax. 


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The moderates were people who interpreted both sides and wanted to use peaceful way to pertained to a fair equipment to the conflict.Most of the moderates lived west the the mountains. They to be wealthier and more educated than most of the farmers the lived around them. They saw the injustice of the whiskey tax and sought to correct it.


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(National Park Service)

It was an overwhelming being a moderate. When meeting with the rebels castle tried to present them they interpreted their plight. However, because the moderates no condone violence or break the law the whiskey boys regularly accused lock of gift federalists. In ~ the very same time, federalists, choose President Washington and Secretary Hamilton, knew that the moderates to visit meetings with the rebel farmers, and were mistakenly convinced the moderates to be leading the rebellion. The federalists experienced the moderates together the fomenters the insurrection, not the mediators of it.


Historical Fact:

The rebels plotted to kidnap moderates Albert Gallatin and also Hugh Henry Brackenridge. Fortunately, they never lugged it out.  


Click below to start the quiz with question 1.

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