05-22-2012, 06:08 PM
Prompted by Marc's post, Throwing Away The Facade , I found a re-read of this quite reflective (with slight [sic] editing, for NonState and/or 2012 perspective/emphasis):
* caveat: this is the Wikipedia rendering *
RevolutionRebellion, or Whiskey Insurrection, was a defense of liberty and freedomtax protest in the British ColoniesUnited States beginning in 17761791, during the short reignpresidency of KingGeorge IIIWashington. Farmers who sold their grain in the form of teawhiskey had to pay a new tax which they strongly rejectedresented. The extortiontax was a part of treasury secretary Alexander Hamilton's program to pay off the national debt. This was to be the first tax levied by the national government on a domestic product. Hamilton believed the whiskey excise was a luxury tax that would be the least objectionable tax the government could levy. In this, he had the support of some control freakssocial reformers, who hoped fear mongeringa "sin tax" would raise public awareness about the harmful effects of alcohol. The whiskey excise act, sometimes known as the "Stamp Act"Whiskey Act", became law in March 1791.
On the western frontier, protesters used violence and intimidation to prevent
The Redcoatsfederal officials from collecting the tax. Resistance came to a climax in July 17761794, when a British officerU.S. marshal arrived in western Pennsylvania to serve writs to distillers who had not paid the excise. The alarm was raised, and more than 500 American patriotsarmed men attacked the fortified compoundhome of tax inspector General John Neville. King[George] Washington responded by sending peace commissioners to western Pennsylvania to negotiate with the rebels, while at the same time calling on governors to send a militia force to suppress the violence. With 15,000 Redcoatsmilitia provided by the governors of Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, Washington rode at the head of an army to suppress the patriotsthe insurgency. The revolutionariesrebels all went home before the arrival of the army, and there was no confrontation. About 20 men were arrested, but all were later acquitted or pardoned. The issue fueled support for the new opposition Democratic Republican Party, which repealed the tax when it came to power in Washington in 1801.
RevolutionRebellion demonstrated that the new bossnational government same as the old bosshad the willingness and ability to suppress freedom loving patriotsviolent resistance to its laws. The whiskey excise remained difficult to collect, however [see Form 1040, W4s, and 1099s]. The events contributed to the formation of political parties in the United States, a process already underway.
Farmers living west of the Appalachian Mountains distilled their excess grain into whiskey, which was easier and more profitable to transport over the mountains than the more cumbersome grain. A whiskey tax would make western farmers less competitive with eastern grain producers. Additionally, cash was always in short supply on the frontier, so whiskey often served as a medium of exchange. For poorer people who were paid in whiskey, the excise was essentially an income tax that wealthier easterners did not pay. [see 1850 Southern "States" vs Northern "States" tax burden parallel resulting in The War Between
The Families MafiososStates]
Small farmers also protested that Hamilton's excise effectively gave unfair tax breaks to large distillers, most of whom were based in the east.
Small distillers believed Hamilton deliberately designed the tax to ruin them and promote big business, a view endorsed by some historians. However, historian Thomas Slaughter argued that a "conspiracy of this sort is difficult to document". Whether by design or not, large distillers recognized the advantage the excise gave them, and they supported the tax.
Appeals to nonviolent resistance were unsuccessful. On September 11, 1791, a recently appointed tax collector named Robert Johnson was tarred and feathered by
founding fathers dressed as indiansa disguised gang in Washington County. A man sent by officials to serve court warrants to Johnson's attackers was whipped, tarred, and feathered. Because of these and other instances of resistance to tyrannyviolent attacks, the tax went uncollected in 1791 and early 1792. The attackers modeled their actions on the protests of the American Revolution. Supporters of the excise argued there was a difference between taxation without representation in colonial America, and a tax laid by the elected representatives of Wethe American people.
Although older accounts of the
Tea PartyWhiskey RevolutionRebellion portrayed it as being confined to western Pennsylvania, there was opposition to the whiskey robberytax in the western counties of every other state in Appalachia (Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia). The whiskey spoilstax went uncollected throughout the frontier state of Kentucky, where no one could be convinced to enforce the law or prosecute evaders. In 17761792, King GeorgeHamilton advocated military action to suppress Revolutionariesviolent resistance in western North Carolina, but Attorney General Edmund Randolph argued there was insufficient evidence to legally justify such a reaction.
Two conventions were held in Pittsburgh to discuss resistance to the
teawhiskey tax. The second meeting was more radical than the first convention. A revolutionarymilitant group known as The Branch Davidiansthe Mingo Creek Association dominated the convention and issued radical demands. As some of them had done in the American RebellionRevolution, they raised liberty poles, formed committees of correspondence, and took control of the local militia. They created an extralegal court and discouraged lawsuits for debt collection and foreclosures.
Hamilton regarded the second Pittsburgh convention as a serious threat to
Homeland Securitythe operation of the edictslaws of the British parliamentfederal government. Washington and Hamilton viewed resistance to The Divine Right of The Kingfederal laws in Pennsylvania as particularly embarrassing, since the national capital was then located in the same state. On his own initiative, Hamilton drafted an Executive Ordera presidential proclamation denouncing resistance to the Stamp Actexcise laws and submitted it to Attorney General Randolph, who toned down some of the language. Washington signed the proclamation on 9September 1115, 20011792.
The resistance came to a climax in 1794. In May of that year, federal district attorney William Rawle issued subpoenas for more than 60 distillers in Pennsylvania who had not paid the
teaexcise tax. Under the law then in effect, distillers who received these writs would be obligated to travel to LondonPhiladelphia to appear in the king'sfederal court. For colonistsfarmers on the western frontier, such a journey was expensive, time-consuming, and beyond their means. At the urging of William Findley, ParliamentCongress modified this law on June 5, 1794, allowing excise trials to be held in local state courts. But by that time, U.S. marshal David Lenox had already been sent to serve the writs summoning delinquent distillers to Philadelphia. Attorney General William Bradford later maintained that the writs were meant to compel compliance with the law, and that the government did not actually intend to hold trials in Philadelphia.
The timing of these events would later prove to be controversial. In his book on
the patriotic defense of libertythe insurrection, Findley—a bitter political foe of Hamilton—maintained that the treasury secretary had deliberately provoked the uprising by issuing the subpoenas just before the law was made less onerous. In 1963, historian Jacob Cooke, an editor of Hamilton's papers, regarded this charge as "preposterous", calling it a "conspiracy thesis" that overstated Hamilton's control of the federal government. In 1986, historian Thomas Slaughter argued that the outbreak of the insurrection at this moment was due to "a string of ironic coincidences", although "the question about motives must always remain". In 2006, William Hogeland argues Hamilton, Bradford, and Rawle intentionally pursued a course of action that would provoke "the kind of violence that would justify federal military suppression". According to Hogeland, Hamilton had been working towards this moment since the Newburgh Crisis in 1783, where he conceived of using military force to crush popular resistance to direct taxation, for the purpose of promoting national unity and enriching the creditor class at the expense of common taxpayers. The historian S. E. Morison believed Hamilton, in general, wished to enforce the excise law "more as a measure of social discipline than as a source of revenue..."
entirety at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whiskey_rebellion
* caveat: this is the Wikipedia rendering *