The Whiskey Rebellion Essay

875 WordsJul 30, 20074 Pages
Book Review By Xxxxx X. Xxxxxx HIS 1111 The Whiskey Rebellion: Frontier Epilogue to the American Revolution. By Thomas P. Slaughter. (New York: Oxford University Press, l986, 291 pp.) In October of 1794, in response to a popular uprising against the federal government, President Washington sent an army of nearly 13,000 men across the Allegheny Mountains into the frontier regions of Western Pennsylvania. This event marked the greatest internal crisis of Washington's administration and was probably the most divisive event that occurred in the United States prior to the Civil War. The significance of this event has often been overlooked and forgotten in popular historical accounts. Thomas Slaughter's thirteen-chapter chronicle of…show more content…
The Whiskey Rebellion was a turning point in America's history that demonstrated the central government's willingness and ability to enforce its laws in spite of the obstacle of distance from its center of power. Slaughter divides The Whiskey Rebellion into three principal sections entitled Context, Chronology, and Consequence. The first section begins with a comprehensive assessment of the anti-excise tradition which follows late seventeenth-century British philosophy and traces its progression from Walpole's excise battle in 1733, through the Stamp Act crisis of 1764 and on through the Anti-Federalist account of the tax provisions of the Constitution of 1787. In the second section, Slaughter details the debate over the excise, its implementation and the outbreak of both peaceful and violent opposition to it; opposition that occurred not only in Pennsylvania but along the entire frontier. In his final section, and with a trace of personal bias, Slaughter describes the outbreak of violence in the summer of 1794 for which he holds John Neville largely accountable. Slaughter continues in the final section with Hamilton and Washington deciding to make an example of western Pennsylvania despite the fact that the excise had gone uncollected all along the frontier, and the Watermelon Army fiasco which the Federalists
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