The Whiskey Rebellion: George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, and the Frontier Rebels Who Challenged America's Newfound Sovereignty

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Simon and Schuster, Apr 25, 2006 - Biography & Autobiography - 302 pages
4 Reviews
A gripping and provocative tale of violence, alcohol, and taxes, The Whiskey Rebellion pits President George Washington and Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton against angry, armed settlers across the Appalachians. Unearthing a pungent segment of early American history long ignored by historians, William Hogeland brings to startling life the rebellion that decisively contributed to the establishment of federal authority.

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.

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User Review  - irregularreader - LibraryThing

As a Pittsburgh transplant, I love finding new historical bits about my adopted hometown. I first heard of the Whiskey Rebellion during a tour at a local whiskey distillery, Wigle Whiskey (totally ... Read full review

THE WHISKEY REBELLION: George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, and the Frontier Rebels Who Challenged America's Newfound Sovereignty

User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

Contrarian account of a contrarian struggle, in some senses America's first civil war.If it's mentioned at all in survey texts, the Whiskey Rebellion is usually seen as an effort on the part of ... Read full review


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About the author (2006)

William Hogeland has published in numerous print and online periodicals, including The New York Times, The Atlantic Monthly, and Slate. He lives and writes in Brooklyn, New York.

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