S01E45 Whiskey Rebellion (2)

Ep 45: The Whiskey Rebellion

This is the story of why tarring and feathering government employees is not a legitimate form of democratic expression.  Also, booze.
(Happy Tax Day! We’re getting this up one day late – because, like many of you, we were still working on our taxes, too!)

Additional Links & Resources:

Read a quick overview of the Whiskey Rebellion from Encyclopedia Britannica here and from PBS’s series “The American Experience” here.

Alexander Hamilton, the first Secretary of the Treasury, was a key figure in the Whiskey Rebellion. Here’s a portrait of him done by John Trumbull in 1792, not long before the Whiskey Rebellion:

Portrait of Alexander Hamilton
Portrait of Alexander Hamilton

Listen to the entire “Cabinet Battle #1” (where Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson argue about the national bank and states’ debt – and allude to the future whiskey tax) from the musical Hamilton by Lin-Manuel Miranda below. (There’s a bit of NSFW or NSFChildren language, so be aware of that.)whiskey


This illustration shows the mob tarring and feathering the government tax collector (that’s him on top of the pole the two men are carrying). It was drawn almost a hundred years later, but shows the heightened emotions this issue raised among the people.

“Famous Whiskey Insurrection in Pennsylvania” by R.M. Devens (1880)

This painting of George Washington surveying his troops near Fort Cumberland, Maryland, in preparation for the march to suppress the Whiskey Rebellion in western Pennsylvania, hangs in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. George Washington remains the only sitting U.S. president to have led troops into battle.

“The Whiskey Rebellion” attributed to Frederick Kemmelmeyer