Whiskey Rebellion Shows Contempt Constitution Had For Regular Folks
Mandeville, LA – Exclusive Transcript – “Wythe Holt wrote a paper a few years back titled “The Whiskey Rebellion of 1794: A Democratic Working-Class Insurrection.” I want to share just some of the introductory pieces of this. I think you’re about to hear some things that you had never heard before, were unprepared to hear, and you may have to digest and meditate upon.” Check out today’s transcript for the rest….
Begin Mike Church Show Transcript
Mike: Wythe Holt wrote a paper a few years back titled “The Whiskey Rebellion of 1794: A Democratic Working-Class Insurrection.” I want to share just some of the introductory pieces of this. I think you’re about to hear some things that you had never heard before, were unprepared to hear, and you may have to digest and meditate upon. Or don’t take my word for it. Please don’t ever take my word for it. Do your own research. I am not here to babysit anyone. I’m not here to indoctrinate anyone. I’m only here looking for the Truth. Here’s part of what Wythe Holt wrote in this essay paper about the Whiskey Rebellion.
Mainstream historians have either forgotten it, or have recalled it in a nostalgia and sanitized fashion. The most recent installment of this latter genre is Thomas P. Slaughter’s The Whiskey Rebellion.
However, the Rebellion deserves much greater modern attention. [Mike: By the bye, this parallels my finding in The Fame of Our Fathers and the men that executed and were involved in Shays’ Rebellion,
very similar findings.] The large bulk of the Rebels, the working-class folk of their time, opposed both the United States under the Constitution of 1789 and the new government formed pursuant thereto, because they thought both were elitist and unresponsive to their needs. Most of all, they found the Federalist governmental structure and Hamilton’s economic policies to be a violation of the democratic promise of the American Revolution to which they had offered their blood, farms, time, and treasure. The Whiskey Rebels–not only in the area around Pittsburgh, but elsewhere in the United States–did present to eastern elites (in Chief Justice Marshall’s words) “apprehensions of a powerful and secret combination against liberty, which was to discover itself by the total overthrow of the republican system.”
Historian Terry Bouton accurately calls them “Regulators,” citizens fed up with selfish elitist governmental economic and social policies . . .
Mike: I’m only sharing this with you just to point out that you’re not alone, we’re not alone. We’re not the first people to have complained about government. We delude ourselves that everything was hunky dory and rosy back in the day. Folks, it simply wasn’t, it wasn’t.
Historian Terry Bouton accurately calls them “Regulators,” citizens fed up with selfish elitist governmental economic and social policies, and successors to similar rebels who led a “Regulation” against the British administration of North Carolina in the 1760s. The self-adopted name of the North Carolina rebels connotes their status as responsible members of society attempting to achieve the self-governance they deserved by “regulating” the world and its awry elites who were doing such a partisan, poor job. However, due to the weight of tradition I shall keep to the old usage, in the spirit of which other oppressed groups have assumed with pride the down-putting monickers with which startled elitists have labelled them.
Mainstream historians today – conservative or liberal – perpetuate at least two falsehoods about the past of the United States. First, they say that the Constitution of 1787 and the government established under it represent a fulfillment of the goals which most Americans had in throwing off the British yoke and establishing a new nation; they deny that a more democratic vision was held by any of the Revolutionaries, and they claim that the new government was and is a democracy. Second, they say that class antagonisms do not characterize the history of the United States. A material history of the Whiskey Rebellion shows the contrary: those on the bottom of American society in the 1780s and 1790s envisioned a democratic and egalitarian world very different from that which the Federalists desired and produced, and they saw themselves as an oppressed class opposed to “the few” who monopolized power and ran matters for themselves in the new nation.
These mainstream accounts of early United States history in general refuse to acknowledge the weakness of the nation in the 1790s, or the elitist antidemocratic nature of most post-Revolutionary American political leadership, or the viciousness and deviousness which characterized the Washington administration when it was threatened, or the class warfare which that administration waged against those who were to bear the brunt of “development” as envisioned by Hamiltonian economic plans. The mainstream has for two hundred years ignored the radical democratic and communal (if racist and sexist) vision of themselves and their future held by many American farmers, artisans, and common laborers in the 1780s and 1790s, to say nothing of the continuing resistance such groups have always demonstrated towards the plans of American elites. Indeed, in the supposedly democratic United States the mere existence, much less the historical importance and power, of those at the bottom of the social and economic scale gets mostly negative attention. [Mike: Folks, it still gets negative attention today.] Such folks are assumed to be, and are portrayed, either as stupid, inert, and capable only of being led, or as disgusting, antisocial, and living an aimless, squalid, crime-ridden existence.
This study takes seriously not only the elitism, viciousness, and antidemocratic policies of the Washington administration, but also the reality of class warfare, caused by elite denial of the aspirations, abilities, courage, and democratic communal values of those at the bottom of society.
Mike: We’d have to read the other 75 pages to get into the actual meat and taters of that. I will do that on your behalf and report back forthwith. That is a fascinating summary, I would say, or introduction to what is about to follow. By the bye, I just happened to notice, I went in and got my copy of Liberty, the God That Failed — which you can get in the Founders Tradin’ Post at MikeChurch.com, autographed by Chris Ferrara — and sure enough, Ferrara has an entire subchapter on the Whiskey Rebellion, and relied on some of what Wythe wrote that I just quoted to you. Chris Ferrara will be on the program tomorrow so we’ll discuss this with him as well. One more by the bye. I mentioned The Fame of Our Fathers. [mocking] “Come on, Mike, get back to bashing Obama.” I did half an hour of Obama bashing in the first hour, by the way.
Getting back to the concept here that is being promoted by Mr. Wythe and runs concurrent throughout Liberty, the God That Failed, is also personified again in Shays’ Rebellion. For those of you that don’t know — I’d be fascinated to hear if we actually have a listener that lives in Pelham, Massachusetts, hometown of Daniel Shays. Daniel Shays was a decorated war hero, decorated by General Washington himself, relied upon at the Battle of Saratoga by Washington. As a matter of fact, Shays was so good at Saratoga that the Marquis de Lafayette, after the conclusion of the Battle of Saratoga, he was so impressed with Shays, his military acumen and his bravery that he gave him his battle sword. Lafayette gave Shays his battle sword.
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How many of you know what happened to Daniel Shays’ battle sword? [mocking] “Mike, why do I care about this stuff?” That’s what I thought you’d say. Let me tell you what happened to Shays’ battle sword. This is in The Fame of Our Fathers; you’ll learn this. When Governor Bowdoin of Taxachusetts, one of those elites that Mr. Wythe is writing about, in concert with John Hancock, decided that they needed to pay some of the war debts back. Guess who they decided to tax? No, not wealthy merchants in Boston, not the elites of Boston like the Adams Family (of course, Adams was in France at the time) and others. No, western farmers, the farmers of Pelham, Mass. Not only did they tax them, they taxed them almost into starvation. Shays had to sell, to a prospector, the sword that Lafayette gave him to pay taxes that became necessary to be paid as a result of the revolution that Shays himself had fought and bled in to earn the sword in the first place.
End Mike Church Show Transcript