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Shays' Rebellion was an armed uprising in Massachusetts, mostly in and around Springfield This led to strong resentments against tax collectors and the courts, where creditors obtained judgments against debtors, and where tax collectors.
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Some thought of the Shaysites named after their military leader as heroes in the direct tradition of the American Revolution, while many others saw them as dangerous rebels whose actions might topple the young experiment in republican government.

Shays' Rebellion

James Bowdoin , the governor of Massachusetts, was clearly in the latter group. He organized a military force funded by eastern merchants, to confront the rebels. This armed force crushed the movement in the winter of as the Shaysites quickly fell apart when faced with a strong army organized by the state. While the rebellion disintegrated quickly, the underlying social forces that propelled such dramatic action remained.

The debtors' discontent was widespread and similar actions occurred on a smaller scale in Maine then still part of Massachusetts , Connecticut, New York, and Pennsylvania among others places. While Governor Bowdoin had acted decisively in crushing the rebellion, the voters turned against him in the next election. This high level of discontent, popular resistance, and the election of pro-debtor governments in many states threatened the political notions of many political and social elites.

Shays's Rebellion

Shays' Rebellion demonstrated the high degree of internal conflict lurking beneath the surface of post-Revolutionary life. National leaders felt compelled to act to put an end to such popular actions that took place beyond the bounds of law. The Iroquois Tribes 2. The House of Burgesses 3. Witchcraft in Salem 4. The Ideas of Benjamin Franklin 5.

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Shays’ Rebellion - HISTORY

The Treaty of Paris and Its Impact 9. The Intolerable Acts The Declaration of Independence Yorktown and the Treaty of Paris When Does the Revolution End? Revolutionary Changes and Limitations: The Age of Atlantic Revolutions The Economic Crisis of the s Constitution Through Compromise The Antifederalists' Victory in Defeat Native American Resilience and Violence in the West The Life and Times of John Adams A New National Capital: Another View of Virginia in Claiming Victory from Defeat Early National Arts and Cultural Independence The Expansion of the Vote: Jacksonian Democracy and Modern America Irish and German Immigration Transcendentalism, An American Philosophy The Southern Argument for Slavery Gold in California The Compromise of Preston Brooks and Charles Sumner The South Secedes The Road to Appomattox The Assassination of the President Rebuilding the Old Order Politics of the Gilded Age Merchants in eastern Massachusetts, anxious to pacify their foreign creditors, urged the state legislature to raise taxes to meet the debt.

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These taxes, which had to be paid in cash, were particularly burdensome to farmers, who traditionally relied on barter to see them through hard times. Those hardest hit usually lacked the property qualifications for voting and thus were unable to influence the government through the ballot.

Many lost their farms through foreclosure for overdue debts and delinquent taxes. Others faced debtors prison. Those debtors who were Revolutionary War veterans felt they had been betrayed.

In August, , a group of farmers marched on Northampton to prevent the courts from hearing foreclosure proceedings. By January, , the situation had become desperate. Daniel Shays led the main body of a large group of armed insurgents to confiscate arms an ammunition stored in the arsenal at Springfield. They were opposed by about militia under the command of General William Shepard.

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Shays advanced, expecting reinforcements that never came. When Shays refused to halt, Shepherd opened fire with small arms and artillery.

The cannon fire routed Shays men, leaving twenty wounded and four dead.