Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Tea -- or Whiskey?

Among the many stupidities of the "tea party" astroturf campaign, perhaps the most annoying to me (as a historian) is that they've picked the wrong historical allusion. As everyone ought to know, the Boston Tea Party (and the American revolution more generally) was not a tax revolt per se, but rather was a revolt against taxation without representation.

By contrast, Obama's proposal to raise taxes (on the top 5% of Americans, to 1990s levels) is not being done without those being taxed having representation. The current crop of protesters had their chance to put forward candidates and vote in the 2008, and they lost.

In fact, the current protests are less like the Boston Tea Party than like the Whiskey Rebellion, when protests erupted in Appalachia over the decision of the (legally-elected) federal government to raises taxes in order to deal with a national fiscal and economic crisis (sound familiar?). 

This decision infuriated whiskey-producing farmers and led to a rebellion, which Washington put down by personally leading a large militia out to Western Pennsylvania to demonstrate the authority of the federal government.

1 comment:

Alec Cryton said...

Ok, whether its a Tea Party or a whiskey Rebellion , both were against the raising of taxes.This has definitely affected the Whiskey producing farmers but what to do the Govt. is undone and it has to deal with the issues of fiscal & economic crisis by raising the taxes only.Its definitely a matter of great concern & the Govt should deal with it more seriously without hurting the sentiments of other.Fine, I am going to have some
Cuban Cigars with my freinds who will be waiting for me in the bar.