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U.S. History/Taxes under George Washington's Administration - corrected


FYI - my question that I just sent a moment ago had an error in it. Feel free to disregard that one and only answer this one. I've written out a corrected version of the question below.

I know that under George Washington's administration, revenue was raised through tariffs and a tax on whiskey. However, I'm wondering whether there were additional federal taxes at the time. If so, then why was the tax on whiskey the most controversial? Or if not, then why was whiskey singled out as the one thing to tax? What about other alcoholic beverages?

Hi Jeremiah,

You're right, taxes were generated only through tariffs. There were no other federal "internal" taxes at this time.

The tax was whisky was imposed - rather than that of other alcoholic beverages - because much more of it was made vs. other beverages. It was controversial because whisky was produced by independent, self-sufficient frontiersmen (and women) who didn't appreciate the government imposing a tax on their livelihood. They resented the tax because they were an independent-minded people and because it was levied from a distant national government that knew little of their lives (they felt). Further, the frontiersmen were underrepresented in government - state and national - so this seemed like another case of "no taxation without representation." To them it seemed a clear case of a remote, elitist government picking the pockets of poorer and less powerful people.

I hope this helps!

- Marc  

U.S. History

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Marc Aperio


I'm able to answer most questions about US History, whether related to political, social, economic, or military issues.


I've studied American history for nearly 20 years. I'm currently volunteering for AllExperts in Medieval and European history.

My newest book WE NEED TO TALK: 27 DIALOGUES ON RACE IN AMERICA is available in the Amazon Kindle store. Also the author of AMERICAN REVOLUTION 2016: RATIONALE AND AIMS FOR RADICAL CHANGE

BA History (High Honors)

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