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The Whiskey Rebellion Essay

In the eighteenth century, settlers resorted to violent protest to express their disagreements. Before the occurrence of the violent protests, the country was still recovering from the aftermath of the French and Indian War. The country was subject to the payment of debt from Britain who declared that the colonies were in protection of Britain during the war, also known as parliamentary sovereignty. Along with the debt, there were tensions with the natives in the land due to the decreasing space in proportion to the British expansion of territory.

The Treaty of Paris of 1763 was also signed, giving French control over Canada to Britain. While there were still disputes over how government revenue should be raised, the occurrence of these events caused significant change in the lives of the Americans because stricter laws were placed to relieve tension in the country. After these protests, taxes on whiskey were revoked and other laws were adapted to the people’s wants. Hamilton’s ideas for government began to become a reality for the evergrowing America.

The occurrence of the March of the Paxton Boys, Shays’ Rebellion, and the Whiskey Rebellion marked a significant turning point in the eighteenth century leading into major changes in the country’s government and politics. The March of the Paxton Boys was the first of multiple violent protests in the beginnings of America that started uprisings throughout the country. The causes for the March of the Paxton Boys were due to the poorly handled attacks from Pontiac’s Rebellion. Native people who lived in the land felt increasingly threatened by the English colonists and were compelled to act out in defense.

Indian leader Pontiac coordinated attacks on British frontier settlements near Detroit, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. The rebellion caused the March of the Paxton Boys because Pontiac’s Rebellion showed that the British army and state militias were incapable of defending the land from attacks. The Paxton Boys were a group of Scots-Irish men in Pennsylvania who led an attack on the Conestoga Indians. The men demolished the land and the families of the Indians living there and received praise for doing so.

The Boys never faced the repercussions of their actions due to their threats to the government, stating that the men would overthrow the government in Philadelphia as well. The March of the Paxton Boys revealed significant social and regional divides that were not remedied well. The effects of the March of the Paxton Boys were the Proclamation of 1763 and the Proclamation Line. The increase of violence on the American frontier brought along multiple disputes between the colonists and the natives. The Proclamation of 1763 was passed to forbid any settlement of English colonists past the Appalachian Mountains.

The Proclamation Line declared the that one side be dedicated for the natives and the other for settlers. The Proclamation was criticized in the colonies because of the increase in population and the lack of land to spread amongst. A majority of the colonists felt that the government was doing the same thing that the wars had been for- independence over their own land. The Proclamation of 1763 and the Proclamation Line were effects of the March of the Paxton Boys because these events addressed the frontier disputes over land on which the men fought over for years.

Shays’ Rebellion was a significant rebellion that further expressed the lack of government stability and power in the country. The cause of the rebellion was the severe debt of the country from post-war recession. This debt frightened farmers throughout the nation, even more so in the state of Massachusetts. The army was lacking pay and the government failed to pay back the distributed bonds which angered the people. The farmers were unable to make payments to creditors due to the inability to cash in their bonds for their share that was paid already. A group of men formed a group that would arch on the Springfield Armory, and from there to the capital.

The men’s goal was to prevent the Massachusetts Supreme Court from trying the men on their case of the rebellion. The men harassed lawyers, merchants, and other government supporters to get a reaction to improve the situation. Shays’ Rebellion primarily focused on the revision of the Articles of Confederation, as well as the dispute over the ratifying of the Constitution. This rebellion frightened the politicians over the question whether or not another uprise would occur and the power that would be taken to reduce the strength of the rebellion.

The effects of the Shays’ Rebellion would be the Annapolis Convention, which would revise the Articles of Confederation. The Annapolis Convention was held in order to revise parts of the Articles to avoid further violence and sectioning off of the country. There was a small number of attendants at the convention, so the decision was made to meet in Philadelphia for a second convention to formally make revisions to the Articles with a more equal representation of the country. The convention would later be known as the Philadelphia Convention of 1787.

The Annapolis Convention and the Philadelphia Convention were both effects of the Shays’ Rebellion because the conventions discussed the issues on which the rebellion dealt with, suggesting revision of the Articles to better the government and lives of the people of America. The Whiskey Rebellion was another rebellion that gained an immense amount of support in early America. The Whiskey Rebellion was caused by a tax on whiskey that was imposed by Congress, which was set in place by Alexander Hamilton. The tax was set in place to assist the government in paying back the national debt that accumulated from the Revolution.

The rebellion started March 3, 1791 and the reaction against the levy was incredibly overwhelming to the government. Whiskey is a byproduct of corn and had a better market than the original grain, which profited the farmers greatly until the tax was in place. The liquor was the main source of revenue in the west and the product was used as the people’s currency for government officials. The people were already conflicted with the government concerning the disputes in the Northwest Territory and the leadership of Tecumseh.

The whiskey farmers formed a resistance to the tax in a meeting during July of 1791, and the collectors of the tax were often humiliated, tarred and feathered, or ambushed. Over the course of a few years, the resistance gained strength and momentum. George Washington commanded an army that consisted of over 13,000 militiamen who would march into western Pennsylvania to put an end to the rebellion. Along with the army, the President issues an act instructing the rebels to disperse and return home.

The rebellion soon ended as word arrived of the army and the tax remained through the Federalist Era. The rebellion was the first resistance to federal authority in the country concerning government and the abilities that allow taxation on the nation. The effects of the rebellion were that the government now had the ability to exert its power. The government’s power was not something greatly observed until the Whiskey Rebellion and was an effect because of the tax on whiskey, which was another topic of debate at the time.

A later alliance with France would become problematic because of the issues going on overseas and the governmental power in France. Washington issued the Neutrality Proclamation, which stated that the U. S. took no side in conflict between France and Britain. Along with the Neutrality Proclamation, Washington issued the Jay Treaty with Britain to address all of the grievances between the United States and its previous mother country. Americans saw the treaty as an act of the U. S. overnment bending to the power of another country, defying the entire point of the Revolution because the battles were over the powers of the government.

The Jay Treaty was an effect of the Whiskey Rebellion because the issues both dealt with the disputes over government and federal power. These violent protests occurred because of the evident lack of government control and power. The three protests discussed above greatly demonstrated the lack of structure and support that the government possessed at the time, along with upcoming failing political structures that would come due to the lack of proper power.

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