The ratification of the US Constitution forced Pennsylvanians to adapt their democratic, extra-governmental political practices to the new federal government. This chapter looks at how these practices evolved in the early 1790s, investigating gubernatorial and legislative elections, as well as the creation of Democratic-Republican Societies and the Whiskey Rebellion of 1794. These activities focused on opposing the actions of George Washington’s administration, defending popular political activity against the Federalist policies including Alexander Hamilton’s excise tax on whiskey. The chapter particularly focuses on the events of the Whiskey Rebellion, looking at how Pennsylvanians from all corners of the state developed political institutions as they sought to resolve the long-running tensions which led to violence. Ultimately, the resolution of the Whiskey Rebellion vindicated a vision of popular sovereignty in which non-violent, representative political action, rather than an appeal to federal authority, proved most successful.
Keywords: Whiskey Rebellion; Democratic-Republican Societies; Federalists; Democratic-Republicans; George Washington; Alexander Hamilton; Pennsylvania
Chapter. 16890 words.
Subjects: History of the Americas ; Political History
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