The Whiskey Rebellion
George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, and the Frontier Rebels Who Challenged America's Newfound Sovereignty
By William Hogeland
(Scribner Book Company, Hardcover, 9780743254908, 302pp.)
Publication Date: April 2006
List Price: $26.95*
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In 1791, at the frontier headwaters of the Ohio River, gangs with blackened faces began to attack federal officials, beating and torturing the collectors who plagued them with the first federal tax ever laid on an American product--whiskey. In only a few years, those attacks snowballed into an organized regional movement dedicated to resisting the fledgling government's power and threatening secession, even civil war.
With an unsparing look at both Hamilton and Washington--and at lesser-known, equally determined frontier leaders such as Herman Husband and Hugh Henry Brackenridge--journalist and popular historian William Hogeland offers an insightful, fast-paced account of the remarkable characters who perpetrated this forgotten revolution, and those who suppressed it. To Hamilton, the whiskey tax was key to industrial growth and could not be permitted to fail. To hard-bitten people in what was then the wild West, the tax paralyzed their economies while swelling the coffers of greedy creditors and industrialists. To President Washington, the settlers' resistance catalyzed the first-ever deployment of a huge federal army, led by the president himself, a military strike to suppress citizens who threatened American sovereignty.
Daring, finely crafted, by turns funny and darkly poignant, "The Whiskey Rebellion" promises a surprising trip for readers unfamiliar with this primal national drama--whose climax is not the issue of mere taxation but the very meaning and purpose of the American Revolution.
With three original maps by Jack Ryan.