Chapter

“They Tax Us and Give Us Negro Civil Rights”: <i>Moonshiner Violence and the Politics of Federal Liquor Taxation, 1868–1876</i>

Bruce E. Stewart

in Moonshiners and Prohibitionists

Published by University Press of Kentucky

Published in print March 2011 | ISBN: 9780813130002
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780813135670 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5810/kentucky/9780813130002.003.0005
“They Tax Us and Give Us Negro Civil Rights”: Moonshiner Violence and the Politics of Federal Liquor Taxation, 1868–1876

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The political scene in North Carolina changed dramatically after the Civil War. For the first time since the war ended, a Conservative was elected governor of North Carolina. Many Republicans cited the lack of support in the state's western counties as the reason for their defeat in the elections. They said that many mountain whites were forced to vote Conservative because they did not like that the national Republican Party was in favor of African American political equality in line with the Reconstruction Act of March 1867. Another factor that led to this defeat was the Republican Party's failure to stop the Bureau of Internal Revenue's efforts to enforce and expand federal liquor law in western North Carolina. Most highlanders felt that the law undermined local autonomy and took away the right of small distillers to earn a living. As a consequence, moonshiners were viewed as folk heroes fighting an “oppressive” government even as they committed violent acts against federal agents, often with help from the Klu Klux Klan.

Keywords: North Carolina; Republican Party; Conservatives; moonshiners; African American political equality; federal liquor taxation; Bureau of Internal Revenue; Klu Klux Klan

Chapter.  9224 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of the Americas

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