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Collection Reference Number GLC00981
From Archive Folder Documents Relating to 1794 
Title Broadside regarding bringing rioters to justice for the Whiskey Rebellion
Date 25 July 1794
Author United States. Congress.  
Document Type Broadside; Government document
Subjects Alcohol  Rebellion  Taxes or Taxation  Finance  Economics  Law  Mobs and Riots  Government and Civics  
Theme Government & Politics; The Presidency; Merchants & Commerce; Banking & Economics
Sub-collection The Gilder Lehrman Collection, 1493-1859
Additional Information Political polarization was further intensified by the outbreak of popular protests in western Pennsylvania against Hamilton's financial program. To help fund the nation's debt, Hamilton in 1791 adopted an excise tax on whiskey. On the frontier, because of high transportation costs, the only practical way to sell surplus corn was to distill it into whiskey. Frontier farmers regarded a tax on whiskey the same way that the colonists had regarded Britain's stamp tax. By 1794, western Pennsylvanians had enough. Like the Shays rebels of 1786, they rose up in defense of their property and the right to earn a decent living. Some 7000 frontier settlers marched on Pittsburgh to stop collection of the tax. Determined to set a precedent for the federal government's authority to enforce laws enacted by Congress, Washington gathered an army of 15,000 militiamen to disperse the rebels. In the face of this overwhelming force, the uprising collapsed. Two men were convicted of treason, but later pardoned by the president.
Copyright The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History
Module Settlement, Commerce, Revolution and Reform: 1493-1859
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