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George Washington

Presidency

What was the Whiskey Rebellion?

The Whiskey Rebellion was an uprising among many grain farmers in western Pennsylvania, who objected to the Whiskey Act of 1791, a tax that had been imposed by the federal government on whiskey. The farmers believed that the federal government had overstepped its bounds by imposing too great a tax burden on farmers. The protest was seen by some as reminiscent of the colonists’ protest of the British government’s Stamp Act tax on the colonists.

Washington eventually considered the resistance movement serious enough that he led a formidable force of more than thirteen thousand troops to suppress the rebellion. It was the only time that a sitting president actually led troops toward a battle. Washington led the troops to Carlisle, Pennsylvania, but not all the way to face the farmers who were just outside Pittsburgh. The farmers kowtowed to the federal authority and Washington pardoned those in the uprising who swore allegiance to the federal government.



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