The Whiskey Rebellion and the Whiskey Tax

795 WordsFeb 24, 20183 Pages
The Whisky Rebellion In 1791, under President George Washington, there was a vigorous debate within the House of Representatives to approve legislation to enact an excise tax on whiskey. They choose to pass this law 35-211 because of Alexander Hamilton. Hamilton, who was the secretary of the treasury at the time, was faced with the task of paying off the U.S. debt after the revolution. Hamilton was an avid believer in a strong central government which requires a lot of funding. He realized there was an abundance of alcohol circling around the U.S. at the time that was being both imported and created here that could be taxed. Hamilton stated that there would be millions of gallons imported into New York that would potentially give the government two hundred thousand pounds1. Hamilton particularly pushed this tax to be passed “more as a measure of social discipline than as a source of revenue”. Today, people may regard Hamilton’s remark of limiting alcohol consumption to qualify him as semi prohibitionist. However, Hamilton had a point when he spoke about social discipline and drinking. When reviewing the health issues of excessively drinking that we currently understand in modern times, drinking was quite a serious problem in the 18th century. At one point in time, Hamilton's doctor limited him to consume no more than three glasses of wine per day. The fact that this doctor considered this to be a small amount tells us a lot about societal views on alcohol in the 1700’s. It
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