Shays ' Rebellion was an armed uprising that took place in Massachusetts (mostly in and around Springfield) during 1786 and 1787, which some historians believe "fundamentally altered the course of United States' history." Fueled by perceived economic terrorism and growing disaffection with State and Federal governments, Revolutionary War veteran Daniel Shays led a group of rebels (called Shaysites) in rising up first against Massachusetts' courts, and later in marching on the United States' Federal Armory at Springfield in an unsuccessful attempt to seize its weaponry and overthrow the government. Although Shays' Rebellion met with defeat militarily, it bore fruit in forcing the Federal government to reconsider the extent of its own powers at the U.S. Constitutional Convention, and by drawing General George Washington out of retirement en route to his Presidency, among influencing other changes to America's young democracy.
Although - in the past and still to some extent today - often characterized as a revolt of poor, Western Massachusetts farmers embittered by land seizures and bankruptcies, recent research into the lives of Shays Rebellion's participants suggests that Shaysites came from diverse socio-economic backgrounds (from the wealthiest to the poorest families in the nation), professions, and locales - and also that their grievances extended beyond the specifics of Massachusetts' economic situation to issues ranging from rule by a faraway elite, cronyism and corruption at influential levels of government, and regressive tax policy.
American History USA Articles
- Are the Causes of Shays' Rebellion Fairly Portrayed?
Was this rebellion any more radical or extreme than the American Revolution had been in 1775? Were there just resentments behind the violence?
- The Northwest Ordinance of 1787 and its Effects
The Northwest Ordinance defined the Midwest region, both physically and legally. It's protection of the individual foreshadowed the Bill of Rights.
- Shays's Rebellion: The American Revolution's Final Battle - Leonard L. Richards
- Shays' Rebellion: The Making of an Agrarian Insurrection - David P. Szatmary