One of the threats the new American nation faced in the 1790s came not from a foreign power, but from its own people. The threat became known as the Whiskey Rebellion, because it involved the refusal of farmers in western Pennsylvania to pay a tax on whiskey.
Each year the farmers made whiskey from their corn. A new national tax on corn liquor hurt their business. The farmers were used to paying local taxes, but they resented the national tax. They refused to pay it, and the federal tax collectors were attacked and driven away.
New President Georgia Washington knew there were far more at stake than the tax on whiskey.
He realized that the authority of the new national government was being challenged. It this protest succeeded, others would also defy the government’s laws. Washington called up the militia of four states and personally took command of an army of more than 13,000 soldiers in Pennsylvania. At this show of force, the Whiskey Rebellion ended 0without fighting. And the whiskey tax was soon being collected peacefully. Washington’s decisive action ended a significant threat to the young American government.
In putting down the Whiskey Rebellion, Georgia Washington commanded a force of soldiers larger than any he had led during the Revolution.