How Real Presidents Dealt with a Real Insurrection
Following the peaceful costumed tourism junket that patriotic Americans took to the US Capitol on January 6, the federal government is determined to carry out an unprecedented attack on the rights of American citizens. If you haven’t looked at any of the Democrats’ proposed gun control legislation this month, it’s worth a moment of your time. The new regime is also determined to shut down anything you say online as “hate speech.” Your vote will be diluted in all future elections by a mass amnesty of foreign criminals if they get their way. The costumed Capitol crusaders are being labeled “insurrectionists” and many will be charged with sedition.
Just days ago, Canada’s government designated the Proud Boys as a terrorist organization, lumping them in with Al Qaida, ISIS and Boko Haram. This is obviously a favor to the Biden regime, which will now be able to follow suit by saying, “If our allies believe this is a terrorist group, why have we not done the same?”
All of this is enough to make you wonder: What would it look like if we had a real president and they had to deal with a real insurrection? We do have one example of that in this country, and the outcome was remarkably different than what we’re likely to see from the Biden regime.
In 1791, the fledgling US government imposed an excise tax on distilled spirits to try to pay off its Revolutionary War debts. The tax was a bad idea, because it wasn’t applied fairly to all Americans. If you were a candle-maker in New York City, you were paying no tax at all. But if you were a poor farmer on the frontier in western Pennsylvania and you distilled your excess grain into whiskey every year to a make a few extra bucks, you were footing the bill to pay for the Revolutionary War.
It was hard to transport grain to market from western Pennsylvania in those days, so distilling the excess into whiskey was extremely common. So common, in fact, that frontier communities used whiskey as a medium of currency exchange. The federal government was, in effect, taxing their money in western Pennsylvania, while businesses back in the big cities were paying nothing.
The farmers started refusing to pay the tax and the federal government overreacted. This led to the so-called Whiskey Rebellion of 1794. One government official blamed the overzealous government reaction on Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton. Hamilton publicly called that a “conspiracy thesis.” (Some things never change.)
This was a real insurrection against the US government. Pennsylvania farmers were refusing to pay the tax and chasing off tax collectors at gunpoint. Several civilians were killed in a gunfight with federal tax collectors in 1794. Even more farmers then took up arms and eventually President George Washington sent in federal troops to quell the rebellion. 150 farmers were taken into custody and charged with treason, but juries refused to convict any of them. Two of the leaders of the group were sentenced to hang – but then George Washington pardoned them.
None of the insurrectionists – who actually took up arms against the US government – ever served any prison time. Instead, American society basically provided them with a blanket amnesty. Washington was savvy enough to realize just how hypocritical it would have looked to punish the Pennsylvania farmers for leading a rebellion over unjust taxes, when he had literally done the exact same thing a few years earlier against the British crown.
The first instinct of a tyrant is always to crush a rebellion completely, so that nobody else gets to feeling too uppity and does the same thing. But instead, the leaders of the US government in the wake of the Whiskey Rebellion did something else. They had the emotional maturity to look in the mirror and say, “Wait a sec… what if this is somehow partly my fault? If the people are so mad that they’re taking up arms against us, maybe the problem is us and not them!”
America’s leaders understood that if they punished the citizens who participated in the Whiskey Rebellion, it would have made things worse. Thomas Jefferson hated what he called the “infernal” whiskey tax. He understood that one class of Americans was paying a tax burden that all Americans should have been bearing together. So, he repealed the excise tax shortly after he became president.
Other than President Donald Trump, it’s hard to picture any modern leader in American being that mature and intelligent. Even Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) has accused the people in Chewbacca bikinis and Captain America costumes who walked into the US Capitol of staging a “terrorist attack.” Good grief, what a bunch of sissies! And we can rest assured none of the people charged with sedition over that peaceful protest will be receiving a pardon from the Commander in Chief.