This paper examines the development of the Whiskey Tax of 1791 and its criticality in the funding of early federal government debt and operations. By considering some of the provisions of the tax and the collection and enforcement procedures, the financial and social impacts of the Whiskey Tax are clarified. Civil disobedience in resisting the tax and the “Whiskey Rebellion” of 1794 are explored in that context. Whether the Whiskey Tax effectively served as the first income tax is considered. Images of original record documents are included.

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