Washington Leads Army to Put Down Whiskey Rebellion
We tend to think that the Civil War was the first internal armed rebellion or insurrection after the United States was created. In fact, as President, George Washington was responsible for personally leading troops to put down the first armed insurrection in the U.S.’s history. Known as the Whiskey Rebellion, it occurred when farmers in western Pennsylvania mounted an armed revolt to protest excise taxes on whiskey. In contrast, it was George Washington’s belief that unlike British taxes which had been imposed upon American colonists without their having any representation, the whiskey excise taxes were legitimate since they had been voted into law by the people’s elected representatives. For this reason, George Washington believed it important for the stability and future of the country to respond with force to such a rebellion. After he had dispersed the rebellion, however, Washington showed leniency by pardoning the leaders of the rebellion.