Shays' Rebellion


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  • Pay for Continental Soldier at the end of the War
  • Here's a pice of paper that means nothing
  • Massachusetts Debt
  • You need to pay your taxes!
  • But I don't have any money!
  • August 29th in North Hampton
  • At the end of the Revolution, most Continental soldiers were paid with paper certificates issued by the new government. Since these men needed money now, most sold the certificates to others at greatly discounted prices.
  • September 25th - 28th
  • To pay off the state's debt, the Massachusetts legislature raised taxes and required that they be paid in hard money. Many farmers had mortgaged their land during the war years so they had no money to pay the new taxes.
  • Shays' New Plan
  • Surprise!!!
  • On August 29th, an armed group of farmers closed the Hampshire County Court of Common Pleas in Northampton, bringing all foreclosures to a halt. In the weeks that followed, other farmers shut down courts in other towns.
  • The Editor of the Massachusetts Centinel's Observation
  • Would ya look at that.
  • From September 25th to 28th, Shays' own band of 600 farmers, most wearing their Continental Army uniforms, occupied the Springfield courthouse and prevented the Supreme Judicial Court from sitting there.
  • Shays' new plan was to mount a surprise attack and overrun the new federal arsenal at Springfield. There they would find all the weapons they needed. They expected that the men guarding the arsenal would put up little resistance.
  • The editor of the Massachusetts Centinel observed that the "late insurrections in the Commonwealth . . . must be considered as the cause of bringing [the federal] government] into existence, at a much earlier period than would otherwise have been."
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