Shays rebellion

Essay by beccalinxoUniversity, Bachelor'sA, March 2004

download word file, 1 pages 4.0

Following the Revolutionary War, the United States faced severe economic hardships. States refused to pay wages, attempts of raising money were futile, and many complained about the tyranny of "King Congress". Unfortunately for the economy, interest on the nation's debt increased while its credit decreased.

Because of the economic crisis in the states, many farms were heavily in debt and were seized by their creditors who sold the land for a fraction of their value. The farmers and working class of Massachusetts who were unable to pay their debts were sent to prison and would not be released until their debts were paid. As a result, an uprising publicly known as "Shays's Rebellion" fired within the depths of Western Massachusetts. Lead by Revolutionary War veteran Daniel Shays, the agitators demanded cheaper paper money, lower taxes, and a suspension of the creditors (property takeovers). If demands were not met, enforced action (even by musket) would have to be taken place.

In reaction to the movement, many felt that the rebellion was an example of majority in tyranny, and created discontent with the weak central government under the Articles of Confederation. Supported by wealthy citizens, Massachusetts authorities responded by creating a small army. Most of the acts caused by the rebels, however, were non-violent. For example, in Great Barrington, the rebels released prisoners from jail and in Worcester they developed a resolution stating their grievances. It was then in Springfield that Shay and his men seethed through the Federal Arsenal in attempts to steal weapons. Their attempts resulted in three casualties in the rebel's cause, and marked the ending of Shays's Rebellion. The rebels were captured, including Shays, and were sentenced to death for treason. Fortunately, charges were dropped and all men were pardoned.

Remnants of Shays's movement sparked...