Whiskey Rebellion

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In 1786 the United States was in shambles. The federal government was extremely weak and the individual states were raising taxes like crazy. A farmer named Daniel Shays got some of his buddies to protest against the higher and higher taxes, and started Shays' Rebellion in Massachusetts.

Because of that rebellion, the Constitutional Congress met to fix the federal government (a daunting task that had never been [and probably would not be] successful). After several months of bickering, compromising, napping, and making fun of minutemen, the CC came out with the newest edition of How To:Run the Federal Government, the US Constitution.

The Constitution provided for a strong federal government. This strength is evidenced by the celebration most American adults have every April 14th, the day before federal taxes are due. Also, wonderful things like welfare and the Iraq War (and the salary of Congress) are funded by the friendly federal government.

HOWEVER, in 179something-or-another, the soundness of the Constitution had not yet been tested. Everything changed when Congress passed an excise tax on whiskey. Some Pennsylvanian farmers (a.k.a., old drunk guys who WANTED THEIR WHISKEY RIGHTS PROTECTED) objected to the high tax, and they got rambunctious! Or, something like that.

George Washington got ticked off because he didn't want another Shays' Rebellion, so he sent in militiamen (sort of like minutemen, but there was no one to make fun of them this time) to put down the rebellion. Some people got jailed, some people got pardoned, and the protesters disbanded. The Constitution won! The country was ecstatic, except for some farmers who were still stuck with a high tax.

The Whiskey Rebellion was infamously the subject of one of the essay questions on the US History AP Exam (though most people preferred to write about the Second Great Awakening... and the Whiskey Rebellion... was... *sniff*... IGNORED *sniff!!*).