HotWater Rebellion


The Scotch-Irish having had their rebellion, the Germans must needs have theirs.  It was a trifling affair, however, and influenced apparently by none of the causes which had been at work in the Whiskey Rebellion.

At the time of the alien and sedition laws, which were passed during the administration of John Adams, a house-tax law was also passed, which required the measuring and registering of the panes of glass in windows.  As the tax on whiskey had aroused among the Scotch-Irish the remembrance of their old-world struggles against oppression, so this house-tax law seemed to the Germans the beginning of a petty inquisitorial tyranny, like many they had suffered from in their native land.

They rapidly passed from indignation to violence.  In the counties of bucks, Montgomery, and Northampton, north of Philadelphia, they threatened and intimidated the assessors, and the law was not administered.  In one instance, while an assessor was measuring a house, a woman poured hot water on him, which gave the insurrection its name.  It was also called the House-Tax Rebellion, but more usually Fries' Rebellion.

Fries's Rebellion
The Enduring Struggle for the American Revolution
Paul Douglas Newman, Associate Professor of History at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown.



DELHAAS Class 59



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