Thursday, July 14, 2011

Maybe there should be a "Whiskey Party"

Imagine a scenario: citizens, opposing a new tax, refuse to pay it and rise up in insurrection. I could be describing the Boston Tea Party, which has of late been co-opted by certain political groups, but I'm actually talking about the Whiskey Rebellion of the 1790s.

The federal government, in order to help fund the national debt, instituted a new tax. In this instance, it was an excise tax on whiskey. Rural people in the western part of the country opposed it and rose up in actual armed rebellion.

Washington (the President, not the City) summoned the militias of several states, assembled an army, and marched on the rebels. There was no fighting; 13,000 troops marching into western Pennsylvania was enough to convince the rebels to disband, but it was a major victory for the fledgling federal government.

I guess nobody's ever liked taxes, but the federal government can't exist without them. Washington was prepared to fight to enforce them.

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In 1789, the governor of Australia granted land and some animals to James Ruse in an experiment to see how long it would take him to support himself. Within 15 months he had become self sufficient. The area is still known as Experiment Farm. This is my Experiment Farm to see how long it will take me to support myself by writing.