213 years ago, American citizens rose up in protest against the federal government. What were they protesting about? Whiskey! In order to decrease debts, the newly formed US government imposed a hefty (6-9 cents) tax on whiskey producers. Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton came up with the idea to tax the whiskey makers per gallon, with the large producers paying a lower tax and the small producers paying a higher tax. Most of the small time whiskey manufacturers were immigrants, poorer farmers, or frontiersmen. Angered by the tax, they rose up in a rebellion that formed on today's date, 1794. To stop the action, President George Washington used martial law to call a 12,950 man militia to suppress the rebellion (he actually commanded the soldiers!). The Whiskey Rebellion is a pivotal moment in US history because it is the first time the government has used military force on its own citizens.