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Saber and Scroll

Abstract

The Federalists’ plan to reduce the new nation’s debt resulted in several crises, one of which was the Whiskey Rebellion. The events that unfolded in western Pennsylvania could have happened along any of the frontier areas. Virginia and Tennessee both felt the effects of the whiskey tax, but Pennsylvania, with its system of government that was the closest to true democracy, seemed to draw the most attention from government leaders. The residents of western Pennsylvania fought for the acknowledgement of their needs by the leaders in the eastern part of the state. Specifically, the “Whiskey Boys,” some of the men from Pennsylvania’s western half, fought for the repeal of a law that mostly affected the people along the frontier border. These same men became the focus of the federal government’s attention as it implemented its plan to unburden the new nation from its national debt. This move by the government caused the division between Republicans and Federalists to widen, and established the executive branch’s right to use the military to quell domestic upheaval.

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