Shays’ Rebellion

Even after the Revolution, America was not totally free of conflict and disagreement. From the summer of 1786 into 1787, Daniel Shays led protests that took place mainly in Massachusetts. Farmers with a lot of debt could not pay their taxes and feared that their land would be seized. Other states forgave this debt, but Massachusetts did not. The farmers viewed this as the same kind of opression they had previously experienced from England. To protect their rights, they rose up in an attempt to close courts, but were eventually stopped by the state army. Shays’ Rebellion did not ultimately harm the unity of the nation, but it motivated many people to amend the Articles of Confederation.

Before leading the rebellion, Daniel Shays was a captain in the Continental army.

The events of Shays’ Rebellion were discussed at the Constitutional Convention and played a role in the Constitution’s crafting.

Today, a small memorial for the rebellion stands in Sheffield, Massachusetts.

The some 4000 men who participated in the rebellion were known as “Shaysites.”

It was this rebellion that motivated George Washington to enter back into public life after the Revolutionary War.