More coursework: 1 - A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I - J | K - L | M | N - O | P - S | T | U - Y

Whiskey rebellion

Mike Klenosky 11/24/96

AP History per. 4 Ms. Valentino

On August 1, 1794, President George Washington was once again

leading troops. Only this time Washington was not striking out against the British

but rather against fellow Americans. The occasion for this was the Whiskey

Rebellion. Various efforts had been made to diminish the heated opposition

towards the tax on distilled liquors. However, there was only one man who has

derived the best course of action. That man, President George Washington,

deserves all the credit and recognition for his actions concerning the Whiskey


In September 1791 the western counties of Pennsylvania broke out in

rebellion against a federal "excise" tax on the distillation of liquor. After local and

federal officials were attacked, President Washington and his advisors decided

to send troops to assuage the region. On August 14, 1792, under the militia law,

Henry Knox (secretary of war) had called for 12,950 troops. After this, many

problems arose, both political and logistical. These dilemmas had to be

overcome, and by October, 1794 the men were on the march towards

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. There, they contained the mob hysteria and anger.

This event represented the first use of the Militia Law of 1792 enabling the militia

to "execute the laws of the union, and suppress insurrection" (The Whiskey

Rebellion of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, 1).

It is clear that George Washington was the source of success in the

Whiskey Rebellion. When the militia, with Washington and Hamilton at its lead,

reached western Pennsylvania, it became clear that there would be no armed

resistance. Evidence of Washington's leadership in this rebellion took place

when the "Representatives of the insurgents asked for clemency, and

Washington granted it with stipulation that they comply with federal laws

thereafter" (The Precipice of Power). This agreement forced the public to abide

by the rules of the government and their taxes without any destructive rebellions.

It was evident that Alexander Hamilton was not the backbone of this success.

"His actions provided undeniable proof to Republicans that Hamilton was a

monster who would stop at nothing to defend his corrupt policies, a budding

Caesar bent on establishing monarchy" (A Biography of Alexander Hamilton).

Hamilton did not care as much about the success of his government but of

himself and his beliefs on the nation. Furthermore, Hamilton was planning on

resigning, hence making it crucial to him to entrench the policies he had put into

place. "For the remainder of his life Hamilton worried that his work would be

destroyed, his system dismantled, under the opposition" (The Precipice of


President George Washington played a key role in the opposition

between the mob and the militia. He deserves the credit for creating and

maintaining peace among the people, and carrying out the mission without one

shot fired. Hamilton, on the other hand, put his interests ahead of the problem at

task, hence, forcing Washington to come up with a logical solution. Had it not

been for Washington's courage and kindness, the militia might well have

followed the lead of the French Rebels, and destroyed the country.

Source: Essay UK -

About this resource

This coursework was submitted to us by a student in order to help you with your studies.

Search our content:

  • Download this page
  • Print this page
  • Search again

  • Word count:

    This page has approximately words.



    If you use part of this page in your own work, you need to provide a citation, as follows:

    Essay UK, Whiskey Rebellion. Available from: <> [27-05-20].

    More information:

    If you are the original author of this content and no longer wish to have it published on our website then please click on the link below to request removal: