Were you one of the people fortunate enough to see Hamilton, the musical? If so, I’m jealous, but that’s a story for another day!

Now that you’ve seen the show, why not learn more about Alexander Hamilton, the man? The Bradford House Museum and Washington & Jefferson College will present “The Symposium on Life and Customs in Western Pennsylvania: An Evening with Alexander Hamilton” on Friday, March 29 from 6-10 p.m. at the Chapel at Old Main.

While often glossed over in high school history texts and definitely missing from the play, the Whiskey Rebellion was a test of the fledgling government of the United States, and one of western Pennsylvania’s major historical events.

Alexander Hamilton, George Washington’s Secretary of the Treasury, proposed an excise tax on distilled spirits, which was enacted by Congress in 1791. This tax was vehemently opposed by the farmers living on the southwestern Pennsylvania frontier, and the Whiskey Rebellion was their response to the tax. By 1794, the Whiskey Rebellion threatened the stability of the young United States and, at Hamilton’s urging, caused President Washington to personally lead the federal militia westward to stop the rebels.

When it was assured that there would be no armed resistance, Washington returned to his presidential duties in Philadelphia, leaving Virginia Governor Henry Lee and Hamilton in command of the federal troops as they marched into the western counties. While the rebellion was essentially over, Hamilton gave orders for the search and arrest of about 150 rebels on “the dreadful night” of November 13, 1794. President Washington pardoned all, except David Bradford, in 1795.  Bradford, who had escaped to present day Louisiana, was pardoned in 1799 by President John Adams.

Hamilton was a man of action and ideas and was the foremost champion of a strong central government for the new United States. In his 1796 book, Congressman William Findley argued that Alexander Hamilton had deliberately provoked the Whiskey Rebellion to help establish the power of the Federal Government. The Whiskey Rebellion was a victory for Hamilton and the Federalists, but opposition to the tax remained until its repeal in 1802.

To learn more about this pivotal player in American history, join us for An Evening with Alexander Hamilton!

An Evening with Alexander Hamilton

Friday March 29, 2019

The Chapel at Old Main, Washington & Jefferson College, Washington PA

6:30 p.m. Doors and displays open

7:00 p.m. Speakers

9:00 p.m. Reception and displays

Event cost is $20 per person at the door. Pre-register online for $18 per person, or by calling 724.222.3604, or by check mailed to the Bradford House, PO Box 537, Washington PA 15301. Preregistration closes on March 20 at noon.

*Written by Terry Kish

*Photos are by Jakob Locante.