SRU alumnus Brady Crytzer returns to campus April 10 to talk about his book ‘The Whiskey Rebellion’


Brady Crytzer

Slippery Rock University alumnus Brady Crytzer, ’08, ’10M, returns to campus April 10 to give a public talk about his latest book “The Whiskey Rebellion.”

April 3, 2024

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. — Western Pennsylvania was the setting for the first and one of the most important political rebellions in U.S. history, and a Slippery Rock University alumnus has authored a book about it. Brady Crytzer, '08, '10M, author of "The Whiskey Rebellion: A Distilled History of an American Crisis" will give a presentation about his book, 3 p.m., April 10, at SRU's Russell Wright Alumni House. The event is free and open to the public. The talk will also be recorded for future broadcast on the cable and satellite television network C-SPAN.

Crytzer's appearance is part of the SRU Bailey Library Special Collections' Local Author Speaker Series and is co-hosted by the SRU Bailey Library, the SRU Alumni Association, the Green & White Society and the SRU College of Liberal Arts.

"The Whiskey Rebellion is very important, not just in Pennsylvania History, but in American history," said Crytzer, who earned his bachelor's degree in education and master's degree in history at SRU. "It was the biggest crisis of George Washington's presidency and really the second biggest rebellion outside of the Civil War. We're fortunate we live here where many of the places (that it occurred) are close by."

In March 1791, U.S. Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton shocked the western frontier when he proposed to balance America's national debt using a domestic excise tax on whiskey. The law, known colloquially as the "Whiskey Act," disproportionately penalized farmers in the backcountry, while offering favorable tax incentives designed to protect larger distillers. Frontier settlers in western Pennsylvania bristled at its passage and demanded the law be revoked or rewritten to correct its perceived injustices. ​This sparked four years of rebellion that, according to Crytzer, grew to become America's first great crisis.

"The Whiskey Rebellion" is the seventh book by Crytzer, who teaches history at Robert Morris University, adding to his professional portfolio that includes being the narrator and commentator on the cable series "Into the Wild Frontier." He has also been featured on NBC Peacock, FOX Nation and SiriusXM and is the host of the weekly podcast "Dispatches: The Podcast of the Journal of the American Revolution." His work has been featured in The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The Journal of the American Revolution and others.

Only three books have been dedicated to the Whiskey Rebellion in the last century, and only one other book in the last 40 years. However, Crytzer said this topic remains relevant in the context of the current political climate.

"History is best when it's used as a mirror to reflect on ourselves," Crytzer said. "We live in a tumultuous time with January 6, domestic rebellions and political unrest. That's on everyone's minds, and different groups are reading the (The Whiskey Rebellion) in different ways. As the author, I'm very much impartial and sort of in the middle. Democrats read it one way and Republicans read it another way. But people are using it the way anyone should read a history book, which is not taking a side and learning their own lessons from it."

Crytzer's foundation as a historian was laid at SRU under the tutelage of the late SRU professor David Dixon. He is still connected with many faculty members in the History Department and the Bailey Library.

"I'm so blessed and I'm looking forward to coming back to SRU because I get to come back to the place where I fell in love with history and learned how to do this," Crytzer said.

More information about Crytzer is available on his website,

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