Anonymous anon at
Sun Aug 24 14:39:10 PDT 1997

Jim Choate wrote:
> I suspect that there is a certain level of misrepresentation of what
> went on during the Whiskey Rebellion (which I was aware of before
> your elucidation).  Near as I can tell Washington acted responsibly
> within the bounds of the intent and word of the Constitution.

Here's a broad outline from memory.  Some details may be in error:

During the Revolution, many people lent their money to the Continental
Congress so it could prosecute the war.  During and after the
Revolution, the credit rating of the Continental Congress dropped.

Many of these people, such as those in Western Pennsylvania, sold
their claim on the Continental Congress for nickels on the dollar,
mostly to members of the better connected financial community in New

Enter the Federal Government.  After it was established, Hamilton, a
well connected member of the financial community in New York,
announced that the new Government would honor the debt of the
Continental Congress.

The people in Western Pennsylvania were not happy to have sold their

Where was the Federal government to get the money?  Why, by taxing
their whisky!  As many of these people had fought and seen their
friends and relatives die over the question of taxes and freedom, they
were less than delighted with this new development.

The financial community in New York was widely suspected of being
sympathetic to the British, which made the new policies more

What you would expect to happen, happened.

There was a substantial movement opposed to the Constitution.  The
Bill of Rights originated as a sweetener to appease this movement.  It
is fair to say everybody's fears have been realized.

It may not have been the worst deal ever, though.  While it caused the
Civil War, it also prevented the Europeans from playing
divide-and-conquer games with the States and made possible the most
successful foreign policy in the history of the world.

For the point of view of the skeptics see:
Storing, Herbert J. Ed. "The Anti-Federalists" Chicago:University 
of Chicago Press, 1985 (ISBN 0-226-77565-8)

Just Another Cypherpunk

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