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This Month in Business History


Famous Whiskey Insurrection in Pennsylvania. 1794. In: Devens, Our First Century. p. 161. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

The Whiskey Rebellion

It all started with a tax. What came to be known as the Whiskey Rebellion of 1794, or the Western Insurrection, took place over a period of time beginning in 1791 by most accounts. While some would say the roots go back much further, it was not until March 3, 1791 that Congress instituted an excise tax on distilled liquors that set the rebellion of 1794 in motion.

Opening of the Panama Canal

August 15th marks the anniversary of the opening of the Panama Canal, a tremendous engineering endeavor that has played a major role in trade and commerce over its hundred years. The canal was a feat of endurance, as well as engineering, connecting two oceans in a way that made shipping and commerce faster and more economical.

The Bell System

As far back as August 5, 1858, when the first transatlantic cable was completed, August has been a month of firsts and change for the Bell System.

Founding of the National Labor Union and the 1st National Call for a 8-Hour Work Day

The National Labor Union was founded on August 20, 1866, in Baltimore, Maryland. It was the first attempt to create a national labor group in the United States and one of their first actions was the first national call for Congress to mandate an 8-hour work day.

United Farm Workers Organizing Committee Recognized by AFL-CIO 

The United Farm Workers (UFW) became the first recognized farm workers union accepted into the AFL-CIO in August 1972.