Constitutional Era

By: John Allen

XYZ Affair

The XYZ Affair was a diplomatic incident between French and US diplomats that resulted in the undeclared war known as the Quasi-War.


  • French sends 3 "nobodies", named "X,Y & Z".
  • French want a bribe to speak w/ higher gov't officials; US declines.
  • Leads to a 2 year, undeclared naval war w/ French.

People Involved

  • Elbridge Gerry
  • John Marshall

Shay Rebellion

A armed uprising in 1786 and 1787 by American farmers against state and local enforcement of tax collections and judgments for debt.


  • The rebellion started on August 29,1787
  • It was started by several factors: Financial difficulties brought about the post-war economic depression, a credit squeeze caused by a lack of hard currency, and fiscally harsh gov't policies instituted in 1785 to solve the state's debt problems.
  • The rebellion was named after Daniel Shays, a veteran of the American Revolutionary War.

People involved

  • Daniel Shays
  • James Bowdoin

Whiskey Rebellion

Angered by an excise tax imposed on whiskey in 1791 by the federal government, farmers in the western counties of Pennsylvania engaged in a series of attacks on excise agents.
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  • Pennsylvania farmers upset w/ tax on whiskey.
  • Farmers refused to pay the tax.
  • Rebellion disbanded & farmers pay tax (shows power of new government).

People involved

  • Thomas Jefferson
  • George Washington