Shay's Rebellion convinced American politicians and citizens that the Articles of Confederation needed to be heavily revised. When lawmakers began to write the Constitution, Shay's Rebellion was cited during the debates that helped establish the document.Continue Reading
In 1786 and 1787, a series of violent protests occurred between farmers and law enforcement in the new American states. The most violent and extreme of these protests happened in Massachusetts. Farmers in the state were hit hard with a combination of poor harvests and high taxes. In the 1780s, many farmers had gone into to debt starting new farms in western Massachusetts, and lawmakers declined to pass legislation to ease the farmers' financial strain or help them keep their farms.
Daniel Shays, a former member of the Continental Army, led a group of rebels in an attempt to capture the Federal arsenal held at Springfield, Mass. This uprising was squashed by General Benjamin Lincoln over a series of skirmishes in 1787. Shays and his rebels fled to Rhode Island and then to Vermont.
Other engagements during the rebellion included shutting down the court system by force and attempting to free farmers who were in prison for their debts. The actions of the rebels inspired smaller uprisings in Maine, Pennsylvania, New York and Connecticut.Learn more about US History