The Pros And Cons Of The Whiskey Rebellion

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In the 1790s an excise tax on spirits angered Pennsylvania farmers lead to the Whiskey Rebellion, over which many Americans differed in opinion. Many groups and people were in favor of the Rebellion feeling that the government’s actions were unfair and an overstep of their boundaries. This included the Republican Party who believed in the federal government having limited power. Other representatives believed that the tax and the rebellion that followed ultimately causes harm to the American people and called for repeal. The final ad most important group of supporters were the Pennsylvania residents that were directly impacted by the taxes, many of whom participated in the riots. On the other hand, people like George Washington and Alexander …show more content…
This political party held views that power of the Federal government should be limited. Although they did not necessarily condone the violent methods that the rioters used, they believed that the government’s actions were a clear overstep of power. Additionally, the Republicans believed that the Rebellion was a sign that Americans were becoming more aware of the government’s misdeeds, calling most people of the time period “lethargic” to what was happening around them (Hewitt and Lawson). The party also worried about the government’s use of militias and that if the Rebellion had continued the president would have deemed a “standing army necessary for enforcing the laws” (Hewitt and Lawson). (The Pittsburg Resolution, 1794)This was problematic to the Republicans since they had opposed British policies of taxation and quartering and now their new government was behaving similarly. Interestingly, these fears are still relevant to many Americans today, over 200 years later. Conflict between Republicans and Democrats often centers around how far the powers of the federal government …show more content…
Their first argument was that the tax “operate[d] on a domestic manufacture, a manufacture not equal through the States” (“Resolution to the Pennsylvania Legislature, 1791”). Because the tax focused on distilled spirits, it affected farmers much more than those who lived in Northern cities. The representatives worried that the tax would “eventually discourage agriculture” (“Resolution to the Pennsylvania Legislature, 1791”). This was problematic because the South and the West served as a major source of food for the country so a decline in agriculture could lead to food shortages. Like most others who opposed the tax, the representatives compared it to the excise taxes that were imposed by the British which were a primary cause for the American Revolution. Finally, they recognized that the Rebellion had spread to impact people other than the farmers by means of violence. Angry farmers had attacked people who supported the tax and ransacked their homes (“Resolution to the Pennsylvania Legislature, 1791”). Because of these many reasons, the representatives concluded that the Whiskey Rebellion was detrimental to the people of the United

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