18 October 2012

The People’s Movement

The Whiskey Rebellion by William Hodgeland, 2006, Excerpts

Recently liberated by the revolution, the people’s movement had strong opinions about democracy and economic fairness.  In America, the people’s movement drew energy from the Great Awakening, whose spiritual radicalism had gripped the colonies in the 1730s and ‘40s. By the 1770s, the movement wanted laws to dictate fair and equal distribution of wealth and credit. It wanted to limit the profits that a few moneyed men could reap from what it saw as the suffering and degradation of entire communities.

It wanted democratic access to the political process. The people’s movement wanted that cycle stopped by law and had often used rowdy and sadistic tactics to frighten legislatures into providing relief. The people’s movement had long employed tactics that were extralegal, often illegal.

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