Causes Of The Whiskey Rebellion

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Ironically, western Virginians experienced a period of significant prosperity and growth in the years following the Whiskey Rebellion. Numerous anti-excise leaders in the western counties were able to return to their state and local government positions, some even using the insurrection to advance their political influence. Economically, in the aftermath of the insurrection, the lasting military presence in western Virginia boosted the local economy, bringing in more much-needed banknotes. Barksdale notes, “The soldiers’ demand for supplies and propensity to consume large quantities of Virginia whiskey assumed that money flowed into the burgeoning regional economy.” It was ironic that the soldiers sent to enforce the loathsome whiskey tax stimulated …show more content…

Due to this preconceived North Carolinian sentiment, it is no surprise that the state’s General Assembly instructed North Carolina’s two U.S. senators, Benjamin Hawkins and Samuel Johnston, to oppose all excise taxes in December of 1790. As Hamilton continued to lobby for his excise bill to pass in the House in early 1791, Congressman John Sevier was openly dismissive of the bill, claiming that the tax would be unenforceable in North Carolina’s westernmost counties due to their remoteness. He even went so far as to candidly claim, “should the excise bill be passed, we shall derive great benefits from it; (proviso) we can keep clear ourselves, as it would have a direct tendency to encourage emigration into our country, and enable us to sell the production of our own distilleries, lower than our neighbours [sic].” Sevier was so strong in his belief that the tax would be unenforceable, that he believed that the lack of enforcement would encourage emigration to North Carolina and allow Tar Heel distillers to sell their goods at cheaper rates than their neighboring …show more content…

Crow claims, “At least part of their reluctance grew out of the inaccessibility of the southern highlands.” Had they attempted to militarily enforce the excise in those westernmost counties of North Carolina, it would have taken a significant amount of time for an army to journey to the southern frontier, not to mention a significant cost to maintain and support troops. Additionally, Randolph told Hamilton, “I pass by the information from [North] Carolina, because it offers no evidence, nor any prospect of evidence, sufficient for the objects of prosecution.” Even after Washington issued the proclamation on September 15th that warned against excise resistance, the opposition to the tax in North Carolina

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