Essay Example on Shays' Rebellion: Farmers vs Gov't in 1786-87

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  6
Wordcount:  1458 Words
Date:  2023-09-02

Shays’ Rebellion was a sequence of adverse attacks on courthouses and other government properties in Massachusetts that started in 1786 and caused to complete military hostility in 1787. The insurgents’ majority were ex-revolutionary war soldiers who had converted into farmers who rejected state economic laws hence leading top poverty and residential foreclosures. The uprising was named after Daniel Shays, who was a farmer and a former soldier who battled at Banker Hill and was a leader of the revolution. There were thousands of farmers that had struggles in paying debt, and these problems were worsened by the state of the economy. This led to Massachusetts farmers demanding protection from the government against their creditors, but the government allied with the creditors rather than them.

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The farmers that battled in the Revolutionary War got insignificant compensation, and by 1780s, they were struggling to live. The enterprises in Boston and other places required instant reimbursement for the items that the farmers had obtained on credit, and most times, they paid through the barter method. There was a shortage of cash flow, and no minerals such as gold and silver were accessible to farmers to help them pay off their debts. Moreover, at this time, Massachusetts inhabitants were anticipated to pay more taxes than before to the British to guarantee Governor James Bowdoin’s business partners were to get a significant return on their investments. The lack of ways to propel their crops and produce money to get rid of debts and taxes, Boston authorities started to capture the farmers and took possession of their farms.

By 1786 farmers had been cornered (Richards, 58), and thus, they started becoming more combative due to the state and domestic tax collections were being enacted. There were battles in New Hampshire to South Carolina, but the most critical acts of uprising happened in the local Massachusetts areas. There were years of small harvests, reduced prices of goods and a rise in taxes that made farmers have a loss of their farms or even being convicted. However, the brawls did not pose any adverse threats to the lowly systematized post-war U.S federal government, Shay’s Revolts made lawmakers weak, and there were debates on the edging and sanction of the constitution.

In a petition from the Town of Greenwich, Massachusetts, they desired to protect and promote the rights and liberties of the individuals as expected of them as inhabitants (The Background of Shays’ Rebellion, 163). They wanted to safeguard debt and balance the rise in the taxes that had been applied by the authorities. Local courts began to take over the property, farm inputs, equipment and clothes of farmers, including Daniel Shays, who was a Revolutionary War trouper. By the end of August 1786, more than nine hundred farmers had closed the state court. Shays actively took place in the protests and took the lead character, rejuvenating the American Revolution acts and the colonist’s complaints against British rule. The domestic workers rejected economic strategies and the massive corruption of Massachusetts’s public policymaking. They had just fought in a revolution, making them be encouraged by the rejection of the British taxations, they begrudged the state’s implementation of the taxes and substantial terms of credit facilities offered by banks (Khan Academy).

The uprisings such as Shays led to the growth of a vital question on if the democratic governments made after the American Revolution could grow. The congress powers had been suppressed, and they did not have capabilities to fund armies to control the Rebellion. The rebels got support from unfamiliar areas. The Chief Justice of Berkshire County openly supported the Rebellion, condemning the productive state lawmakers of rooting money from the farmers and adding that the cultivators had the right to disorganize state response. Samuel Adams, who was a famous patriot, stated that the rioting farmers had to be murdered.

Shays and other associates proceeded with strategies to attack the federal arsenal resource in Springfield to acquire weapons (Richards, 44). When they approached the battery, Shay’s men were attacked, killing some of the rebels and the rest of them having to retreat.

During Shays’ Rebellion, the freshly made United States was controlled by the Articles of Federation- a paper that the majority of people in the U.S felt was too feeble to manage the protesting nation completely. The farmers of Western Massachusetts strategized their protests like the American Revolution struggles. The protestors organized special gatherings of the individuals to riot conditions and have an organized protest. This caused the rebels to shut courts immediately in 1786 and free the convicted debtors. These riots showed a great more full extent of internal conflict prowling underneath the depicted post-revolutionary regime. The state leaders had the urge to end these protests that went beyond the rule of law. Moreover, the government feared the actions taken by protesters describing it as a form of autonomous democracy (Black) instead of the republic that the majority of the forefathers had imagined.

The subscribers had a petition to the representative house and the honourable senate. During the late war, the liberties and the rights of the people were protected. No pain was spared, but assistance and aid were offered by the civil fathers. War resulted in debt to most people; however, the people needed their shares to be paid to them. The people needed to enjoy their share independently—prudent measures required to be taken so that the petitioner's property could sell at a real value. The amount could be used to pay off the debts. The petitioner submitted to the court that if the matter was not addressed, the people could become bankrupt. The people had been denied to enjoy their property, both personal and real. The land in question was currently being sold at one third than the actual value, cattle went for one half of the actual cost, and the best hay went for thirteen shillings each tone.

Most of the people were suffering due to debt, making some of them planning to flee from New York State and other states. The suffering of people was mainly due to debts and taxes. If the court needed to rule in favour of the people to get them out of debt. It was argued that the governor had to be paid 11,000 dollars every year. Other grants and salaries to the other gentlemen were well known. The petitioners argued that of the things were honest, rite, and just, it was beyond their skills to reconcile such grants and salaries. It was observed that the proclamation sent the virtue, and piety was highly recommended. In conclusion, the petitioner pleaded with the court that they admit to a paper currency.

In this case, the petitioners were delegates coming from forty-one counties. The representatives were collecting sentiments representing current grievances. The inhabitants wished for relief from various complaints. The Boston General Court was handling the operations of a nation that was suffering from dispatch, debt, and economic crisis. The people were embarrassed by private and public debt. Money could not be obtained from the sale of real estate of the mortgage. The people needed relief for them to be relieved from ruin and distress. The purchase of their cattle was not adequate to pay off their debts or sustain them. Due to the many challenges, the input of the court was critical. Portable representation on the property was essential to bring relief to the people.


The people were highly affected by the grant of the general court. The petitioners felt that revenue from excise and import taxes must be appropriate to interest payment on state securities. The petitioners further argued that the entire economy of the people should be introduced to all government branches. The petitioners pleaded with the court that they should increase the practitioner's wealth and check with the clerk's records before making a ruling. The holder's situation on older continental laid dead without interests while the annual tax was being paid. There was a request that the probate courts should be regulated. The regulation could result in more decisive and expeditious on their operations and make them less grievous on their subject. The court was further requested to issue precepts to all selectmen in different towns. The court needed to address the issue speedy to improve the status of the people.

Works Cited

David Black. "The Revolution against the Revolution". City Journal, 2018,

Khan Academy. Shays's Rebellion (article) | Khan Academy. Khan Academy. Retrieved from

Richards, Leonard L. Shays's Rebellion: The American Revolution's Final Battle. University of Pennsylvania Press, 2003. The Background of Shays’ Rebellion

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Essay Example on Shays' Rebellion: Farmers vs Gov't in 1786-87. (2023, Sep 02). Retrieved from

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