The Whiskey Rebellion Essay

1323 words - 5 pages

The end of the American Revolution wasn’t the end of political turmoil in the United States. In the years after the Revolution, political parties formed and disbanded, rebellions started, and even celebrations became increasingly political. Each political faction had a different idea of what the Revolution meant and what the future of the country looked like. The conflicting views of American politics began to manifest in holiday celebrations, governmental affairs, and even rebellions.
The Whiskey Rebellion was created from many issues, not just the excise tax on whiskey. Farmers in western Pennsylvania blocked roads to prevent tax collectors from reaching them and to show their disdain for the taxes placed on the farmers that they couldn’t pay. Western Pennsylvanians felt democracy was being undermined by the state and nationals governments. They also believed the government favored the wealthy. Revolutionary veterans were angered over the payment of war debt IOUS. Most IOUs had been bought by the upper class, which had to power to demand they be paid in full, while they had paid the original owners of the IOUs a fraction of its value. The government obliged them by creating the Funding Act of 1790 to raise money to pay the war debt IOUs. To protest the unfairness of the government, a militia of about 9,000 troops gathered and began a peaceful march to Pittsburgh. Federalists were worried that what had happened to France (revolution and execution of their king) would happen to the United States if protest against the Funding Act and whiskey tax wasn’t put down. The protestors didn’t see themselves as insurgents like the Federalists did. They believed they were defenders of liberty. No force was needed by the government though. Once it was obvious to the militia that using force would not help them achieve their goals, they voted to disband and went home peacefully. The Whiskey Rebellion showed the government that the people would rise up against the government if they felt it was needed. While not really a bad thing, it did lead to fears of an incident like the French Revolution occurring in the United States.
Many American originally supported the French Revolution as an extension of the American Revolution. Men wore cockades as an outward demonstration of their support of the French Republic. French victories and holidays were celebrated, and toasts to the French were given at parties. Good feelings towards the French disappeared after the XYZ Affair. The French were angry over American’s creating Jay’s Treaty, which they correctly saw as favoring the British. When American ambassadors arrived in France, the French foreign minister sent three agents to bribe the ambassadors into making a treaty that favored France instead of England. Americans were angered over this slight because it showed how little they mattered in international politics; other countries didn’t take the United States seriously because of the extreme partisan division in...

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