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Hamilton Proposes Excise Tax On Whiskey- Congress Institutes

As part of the compromises following the Revolutionary War, which allowed our Nation to become independent, our new Federal government agreed to pay the assumed debts of the 13 states. In order to create a successful, self-supporting government, and pay a large national debt, our Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton knew that he needed to find a reliable source of money.

He proposed an excise tax on all whiskey produced in The United States. When asked, Congressman Josiah Parker said the excise would "convulse the Government; it will let loose a swarm of harpies, who, under the denomination of revenue officers, will range through the country, prying into every man's house and affairs, and like a Macedonian phalanx bear down all before them." Senator William Maclay thought the measure was "the most execrable system that ever was framed against the liberty of a people . . . . War and bloodshed are the most likely consequence of all this."


Although narrowly, and to much dispute, Congress has instituted this proposition. It is a direct tax on all American alcohol producers. In General, the citizens of our Nation feel negatively toward this new taxation. Many worry that some citizens will revolt against this tax. A squabble like this, many say, could severely wound the ties between the United States of America, injure our central government, and cause many citizens to lose faith in their country and their government.

The Excise Tax Law has set a varying six to eighteen cents per gallon tax rate. In general, smaller distillers pay over twice as much as large distillers. Large distillers in Eastern United States have, for the most part, accepted this since they can pass the cost onto their customers. However, most smaller producers, West of the Appalachian and Alleghany Mountains, oppose this tax. Our own small distillers are among them. Many have proved to not only be opposed to it, but outright hostile toward this tax. After all, many of our farmers distill whiskey and profit from its sale.

The majority of this burden has fallen on our own our own Western Pennsylvania, one of the chief whiskey - producing regions of the country. Many grain farmers, and several others, not only oppose it, but also consider this law an attack on liberty and economic well being. Many farmers who cannot, or have not, paid the tax, are being sent to Philadelphia to appear in front of a Federal court. Anger is in the air, and many worry about the outcome of this tax. When interviewed, one woman told us that she feared her husband would be sent to Philadelphia, as they could not pay the tax. Others plan to fight the excise tax. Most citizens of our Nation feel that even a small issue at this time, could tip our government from unstable, to not functioning.





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This article has 2 comments. Post your own now!

RosemarieCraig This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Dec. 22, 2011 at 4:06 am
This isn't a story. As an article it was pretty good, although not particularly interesting. Delete it and resubmit to the non fiction section and you will receive a positive response. Good luck x
 
Jakethesnake said...
Nov. 8, 2011 at 9:45 am
This is more of newspaper article/ research paper mix than a story. while I didn't even know this tax had existed, I do believe that maybe a story of a farmer being sent to Philadelphia to face federal court would have been better. You could definitely slip all the facts you had in there into this story that I am proposing. But that is an amazing thing. I didn't know we enacted taxes so early when the people we were taxing had just fought to end taxes! I know we needed the money, but dang!
 
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