"Capitulate, Reconcile, or Engage? The Whiskey Rebellion and How it Shaped the Nation" with Clay Kilgore
On July 16, 1794, after 3 years of protest of the tax on distilled spirits, the anger and frustration of farmers on the western frontier reached its breaking point as those farmers attacked and burnt the home of General John Neville – regional inspector of the excise tax. In Philadelphia, President George Washington, facing the first test of the power of the fledgling government, was being pressured to make a swift and forceful response. Engaging the western farmers and he risks becoming a tyrant in the eyes of his countrymen. But capitulation, showing weakness, and he risks people losing faith in the government. He knew his response to this uprising would impact the nation for generations. This program will look at the causes of the Whiskey Rebellion, the response by President Washington and the government, and the impact it had on the nation from its onset in 1791 to the Civil War.
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Clay Kilgore is the executive director of the Washington County Historical Society. He is a graduate of Penn State University, Behrend College with a degree in history. Previously, he worked at Meadowcroft Museum as a blacksmith, the David Bradford House as historical director, and the LeMoyne House as curator. Clay was an on-air historian and researcher for two seasons of National Geographic Channel’s “Diggers” and has been seen on the History Channel, Travel Channel, PBS, and the Discovery Channel as a historian. He has written for the Washington, Pa., based newspaper, The Observer-Reporter, has been published in several journals, and his book At a Glance – The History of Southwestern Pennsylvania One Short Story at a Time was published in 2019. Kilgore serves on the board of directors for the National Road Heritage Corridor, the planning committee of the Whiskey Rebellion Festival of Washington, Pa, and on the board directors of the Washington County Tourism Promotion Agency. He also operates a blacksmithing and custom furnishings business, Old Plank Forge.