Whiskey Rebellion Lesson Plan

Instructor: Kevin Newton

Kevin has edited encyclopedias, taught history, and has an MA in Islamic law/finance. He has since founded his own financial advice firm, Newton Analytical.

With this lesson plan and materials from, you'll have everything you need to help your students better understand the events of the Whiskey Rebellion and the Battle of Fallen Timbers.

Lesson Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • define both the Whiskey Rebellion and the Battle of Fallen Timbers
  • analyze how the Whiskey Rebellion and the Battle of Fallen Timbers set the stage for how the United States would handle domestic and foreign threats


40 minutes plus 30 minutes for the activity

Curriculum Standards


Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary that makes clear the relationships among the key details and ideas.

Key Terms

  • Excise Tax
  • Whiskey Rebellion
  • General 'Mad' Anthony Wayne
  • Battle of Fallen Timbers
  • Treaty of Greenville

Warm up

Review with students how those early Americans lived outside of the major ports of the East Coast. What challenges did they face? How did they react to them?


  • Tell students they will be learning about the Whiskey Rebellion and the Battle of Fallen Timbers. Link how these two events could have been a reaction to the challenges in the warm up.
  • Watch the lesson The Whiskey Rebellion and the Battle of Fallen Timbers, have students write down key terms and definitions.
  • Pause for discussion at the following areas.
    • 0:38 - Review with the class the challenges of the Articles of Confederation. How had the new Constitution sought to correct those?
    • 2:27 - Why might the landlocked farmers feel that the excise tax was targeting them instead of East Coast merchants? How was Washington's response impossible under the Articles of Confederation?
    • 5:21 - How did Wayne take advantage of his knowledge of Native American customs to help him win? How did he take advantage of the time for negotiations? How had the situation changed between the Constitution and the Articles of Confederation?

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