The Whiskey Rebellion
Surprisingly, whiskey was able to influence the course of the history of a young country. America drew its attention to whiskey and seriously took its production at the beginning of the 18th century. The largest centers of the production of this drink became the states of Kentucky, Pennsylvania and Indiana.
America is famous for its whiskey “Bourbon”, which was first produced in the eponymous village in Kentucky. “Bourbon” was invented by ordinary villagers who decided to make their own alcohol using notes of whiskey production borrowed from the representatives of Albion. Whiskey “Bourbon” with the taste of grain spread across America.
To date, the United States is the largest supplier of whiskey in the world. This right of superiority was not an easy one for Americans. They consider whiskey to be their national drink but steering clear of dispute between the Scots and Irish. America has a lot to think about the history of this drink, especially the revolution, and whiskey was the cause of it. It was a real revolution, and it occurred in 1794.
The Whiskey Rebellion in 1794 gave the government of the USA an opportunity to establish the federal authority by the use of the armed forces within the state which happened for the first time in the history of America. In the USA, the similar situation occurred as the one in Scotland. The government of America introduced a tax on whiskey production. If in Scotland this forced measure was dictated by the lack of grain crops for the production of bread, in America the reason was the increased consumption of cereals and excessive consumption of whiskey by country’s population. Many smallholders were well-profited doing the manufacture of whiskey, and large producers suffered significant losses from the initiative of farmers and other fans of self-production of drinks (Boyer, Clark, Hawley, Kett & Rieser, 2009).
The tax which the United States government imposed on the production of whiskey dealt also with other types of alcohol beverages. Many farmers were on strike against high taxes on alcohol. Alexander Hamilton, the then Secretary of the Ministry of Finance, requested the government to introduce a high tax on alcohol products, which, in his opinion, would retain most of the cereals, reduce the production of alcohol in the country and its consumption by rising prices. Importantly, the government would be able to find the necessary money to pay the national debt and establish the rule of the national government. The last item in the proposal of Alexander Hamilton had its effect, and the law imposing the tax was adopted in 1791 (Boyer, Clark, Hawley, Kett & Rieser, 2009).
The tax on whiskey immediately became a controversial subject. Many frontiersmen believed that the tax was originally directed against Westerners. Whiskey was a popular drink; farmers often used their own small distillers as a source of additional income. Farmers who lived to the west of the Appalachians distilled the excess of grain into whiskey, which was easier and more profitable to carry through the mountains than grain that was inconvenient to transport. The tax on whiskey would make farmers less competitive in western than eastern grain producers. In addition, the cash was always in short supply in the border territories, so whiskey was often used as a medium of exchange. For the poor who received a salary in the form of whiskey, a tax was the income tax, which richer people of the east did not pay (Craughwell & Phelps, 2008).
Small-scale farmers living on the borders of the country and producing large quantities of whiskey rebelled and resisted attacking with protests local federal representatives, who collected the tax imposed.
A mandatory law was not repealed, so the protests escalated into the real rebellion. The resistance culminated in July 1794 when the federal marshal arrived to western Pennsylvania to deliver subpoenas to owners of distillers who did not pay the tax. In July 1794, about 500 armed men attacked and burned the house of a regional inspector of tax collection, General John Neville (Boyer, Clark, Hawley, Kett & Rieser, 2009).
The following month, President George Washington issued a proclamation calling on insurgents to lay down their arms and return home. The president, however, did not waste time and began to collect the Territorial Army from neighboring states. After fruitless negotiation, Washington gave the order to join the 13000 army on the territory of the uprising, but opposition leaders fled, and the opponents of the collision did not happen. It was decided to occupy the dangerous area. Almost all the rebels were questioned, but they were acquitted (Craughwell & Phelps, 2008).
Many Americans, mostly members of the opposition and the representatives of the Republican Party of Jefferson, came into confusion when they realized the power of the government, which took the first step towards the establishment of the absolute power.
For the Federals, however, the most important point was that those actions had positive results and that the national government defeated the rebels of the state by bringing the new law throughout the state.
The Whiskey Rebellion was the first serious test for the government of the United States that showed its ability to solve internal problems. The Whiskey Rebellion showed that the new national government had enough determination and capacity to suppress the armed resistance. However, the imposition of a tax on whiskey remained a challenge. Those events contributed to the ongoing process of the formation of political parties in the United States. The tax on whiskey was canceled in 1800 when the Republican Party of Thomas Jefferson came to power (Craughwell & Phelps, 2008).
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