Tax on whiskey who would’ve thought it was a big deal? Besides, it was only a couple cents per gallon. Well back then, whiskey was really special. People, especially farmers, weren’t supporting the whiskey tax, that’s when they started protesting, known as the Whiskey Rebellion. Alexander Hamilton, thinking it would pay the American Revolution debt, put tax on whiskey but broke many hearts of poor farmers whose profit was from growing corn to make whiskey. It might have been unnecessary to put a tax on whiskey since it was one of the most important resources to farmers. Alexander Hamilton should have thought about the people and put a tax on something else instead. Whiskey was a really important ingredient to farmers. It was their source of money and profit. They used the corn they grew to make whiskey and sell for profit. Whiskey was used as an all-purpose liquor, and people were putting it in medicines, using it in cooking, and drinking it at special occasions (Frear 2). That was, until Alexander Hamilton decided to put a tax on whiskey to pay off the $54 million war debt (Frear 5,6). It annoyed many farmers and led to the Whiskey Rebellion. The whiskey tax was passed in 1792, but the whiskey rebellion started on 1794 (“whiskey rebellion”). When the Pennsylvania farmers and people found out about the tax on Whiskey, some people immediately showed their displeasure by not agreeing to pay the tax. But, the western Pennsylvania farmers felt the tax was not right for the government to be targeting a place that needed crops to earn money and earn profit. Most common are corn, grain, and rye(“Whiskey Rebellion”). By 1794, the protests became violent. Almost 400 Whiskey rebels set the home of John Neville on fire. John Neville was the tax collection supervisor. Secretary Hamilton had no patience but to tell President Washington about the issue. Washington, mad and unbearable, led a militia force of 13,000 men towards western Pennsylvania (“Whiskey rebellion”). The news of the fire triggered the US government to be more hard on the rebels, it gave them a chance to show the people how strong they were. After Washington sent a militia army of 13,000 men to the western part of Pennsylvania, fear got to the people before they did. By the time George Washington and his army got to western Pennsylvania, the Whiskey rebellion was completely gone (“Whiskey Rebellion” 6). But, around 150 were suspected for criminal activity during the rebellion and 2 were sentenced to death (Wagnor 4). After the militia army had been there, the whiskey rebellion was over. Even though the Rebellion was over, people were still not happy about the Whiskey tax. Once President Thomas Jefferson became President, he had officially repealed the whiskey tax. The whiskey rebellion was the first true challenge the federal authority had to face during Washington’s presidency. A reason they repealed the whiskey tax was because no one was agreeing to pay it. (Wagnor 11). One reason, during John Adams and Thomas Jefferson election, the Republican party was supporting Jefferson was because of the whiskey tax. The tax was still going on from 1791-1801. People were voting for Jefferson because he didn’t support the whiskey tax while Hamilton came up with the tax on whiskey (“Hamilton vs. Jefferson”). Alexander Hamilton was also in the Democratic party just like John Adams so people thought he was going to follow the same footsteps as Hamilton and keep the whiskey tax. In 1801, Thomas Jefferson became President and repealed the Whiskey tax for good (“Hamilton vs. Jefferson”). In conclusion, When the American Revolution was fought, the United States was left with a war dept of 54 million dollars. The US secretary of treasury, Alexander Hamilton, thought of a way to collect enough money to pay off the dept. He decided to put a tax on Whiskey, a commonly used resource. People then became furious. They decided to show the government how they felt. They protested, destroyed stuff, burned houses, got violent. In response, President George Washington sent an army of 13,000 militia men. the whiskey rebellion was then over an the tax was excised after Thomas Jefferson became president in 1801. It made people happy again since they could now make profit from whiskey once again.
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