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Shays' Rebellion

8 bytes removed, 15:11, 25 November 2008
[[image:shays.jpg|300px|thumb|Shays' mob in possession of a courthouse]]
'''Shays' Rebellion''' (or '''Shays’s Rebellion''' — but NOT "Shay’s Rebellion") was an uprising in western [[Massachusetts]] in 1786-87 led by former [[American Revolutionary War]] veteran [[Daniel Shays]]. The episode was the latest in a series of protests that began in 1782, and took place in throughout New England, which was still primarily rural. In response to new state taxes, payable in gold, levied to pay off the state debt, western farmers petitioned the state senate to issue inflationary paper money and to stop foreclosure of farm mortgages for landowners who could not pay the taxes. Speakers vehemently attacked the state senate as controlled by bankers and lawyers when the senate it refused. Armed insurgents in the Berkshire Hills and the Connecticut valley, led by Shays and others, began in August 1786 to forcibly prevent judges from holding scheduled county court sessions. In September they forced the state supreme court at Springfield to adjourn. The people of Massachusetts had just won a rebellion against tyranny, and the Shays rebels talked the language of revolution. They talked of tar and feathers for anyone who defied the mob--and even talk of marching on Boston to attack the state capital. The very premise of self government was threatened by lawless men trying to shut down the state’s legal system instead of using the political process.<ref>The great majority of rebels could and did vote in the state’s annual elections.</ref> "Liberty seemed indeed to be degenerating into anarchy," as conservative historian [[Forrest McDonald]] has concluded.<ref> Forrest McDonald, "To Secure the Blessings of Liberty: The Making of the Constitution - the Infant American Nation Weathered Tremendous Obstacles in Order to Form a Constitutional Union." ''World and I''. Volume: 18. Issue: 2. February 2003. [ online edition]</ref>