*** American history the 18th century

American History: The 18th Century--The Whiskey Rebellion (1791-94)

Whiskey Rebellion
Figure 1.--A major crop for western American farmers was corn and other grains. Getting their harvdst over the Applachians to eastern markets was impossible. So many farmers conveted their harvest to whiskey which was easier to transport. Then Congress decided to tax the whiskey (1791). The result was the Whiskey Rebellion. Source: Federal Highway Cimmission. Presumably a WPA painting.

While slavery was the most egrgious form of slave labor, the vast proportion of the world population was peasant labor working under conditions like serfs in Russia -- a landless peasantry. This did not occur in America because of the developing capitalist economy and English law. In fact, it was the small scale-land owning colonists that were the backbone of the Patriots that fought the British Army beginning with Cnocord and Lexington. After the Revolution, the Nortwest Ordinance passed by Congress laid the legal basis for the family farm (1787). Crops varied. Corn was especilly important. Corn is the most productive crop. No other crop so efficently converts sun energy. Convering corn into cash, however, was a problem. This was especially the case after the Revolution when Americans began moving beyond the Appalachians. One sollution was to covert the corn to more transportable corn whiskey. This led to the Whiskey Rebellion (1791). Thefarmers began attacking Federal tax agents, tar and feathering them. The rebellion grew in size. It was the first of many tests that the infant American nation had to deal with. When the Federal Government tried to tax it, the result was the Whiskey Rebellion in western Pennsylvania. In response George Washington, whose Mount Vernon plantation operated the largest whiskey distillery in the country, took up arms again for the final time. He personally led a U.S. Army force across the Appalachian Mountains to confront the irate farmers. There was no battle, the farmers simply dispersed . After all, even moonshiners were not going to go to war against George Washington. The firm Federal response went a long way of establinging a stable new country. This ended the rebellion and aby doubts about the Federal Government's ability to deal with insurrectiinists. The problem farmers faced by Wesrern farmers, however, would not be solved until the construction of the Erie Canal (1825) and the appearance of the railroads (1830s).


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Created: 11:37 PMAM 5/31/2024
Last updated: 11:38 PM 5/31/2024