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Shay`s Rebellion Essay

The 1787 rebellion was led by Daniel shay. He was not much literate, but he portrayed charismatic character. The “who`s who” of the day had been labeled a rebel, traitor, and coward. However, those allegations were nothing but distant from the truth. He was a devoted nationalist, and a decent military officer supporting America’s devolution. He had devoted over five years of his life in service of America`s government. In addition, besides devoting his life to a patriotic course, he owned little property under his name and was also an accused person in a lawsuit. He mobilized oppressed citizens, both poor farmers and middle class town folks, who disagreed with the government’s actions during the time.

He was able to consolidate a militia of over 2000 men. The militia was armed and willing to burn down Boston. According to miller (71), Jefferson heard of the rebellion while, in France but felt that it would not last long. He though that a little rebellion was okay. The political situation was a mess with a weak government that had limited resources and bottomless depts. As a result, they installed large tax levies on American citizens. The uprising divided America`s population into two with conservatives opting to keep of the war. Its events motivated great political progress.


Events of the period preceding the rebellion depicted a need for big political changes. Voters expressed distaste in government`s actions by developing preference for new leaders. In 1787, Governor Bowdoin lost elections to John Hancock, whom he had defeated in all previous contentions. The people were determined to get rid of every element of oppressive governance. Sherriff Greenleaf was on the state`s side. He held official capacity in Lancaster and employed all possible resources, with the sole objective of monitoring how people related to the rebellion and stopping growth of the militia group. The rebellion created a situation where General Lincoln rejoined America`s political scene. His contributions were in support of America`s government. Shay`s rebellion against political tyranny, attracted attention from Alexander Hamilton, George Washington, and James Madison who thought that America needed to setup a new government system. Soon, they would start pursuing the agenda of delivering a federal government system to the American people.


America experienced a recession beginning in 1784. The government could not survive without extensive external funding let alone subsidizing public projects. They found that salvation could be achieved by demanding a tax increase. According to smith (6), the taxation levels were not ethical. The government tried to exploit farmers and casual laborers, however; their efforts did not make much difference as such persons initially made less money than tax demands. Therefore; the taxman made demands but did not receive equitable monies. Consequently, persons who failed to comply lost property and others were prosecuted in court. Government also owed to soldier. A currency circulation mess, where circulation did not match national wealth was not corrected by government.

This led to further escalation of the already unpleasant situation. Crops did very well; farmers brought much harvest from the farms but attracted low market prices. Most farmers did not meet their tax obligations and soon lost rights to continue farming on their land. The labor industry was also in a chaotic situation. Few jobs were available for grab. What`s more, wages attached to such were not enough to get by on. Technology was not advanced and manufacturing did not take place. According to Humphrey and Richard (2), merchants and the government alike oppressed farmers. The rebellion was successful in inspiring a revision of tax rates. Soon, America`s taxman reviewed tax downwards.


Shay`s rebellion was not supported by the conservative clergy. Racisms increased the disparity between the rich and struggling population. Majority of the rich folks were white while many African Americans were defined by poverty. Christianity was popular though it’s disputable that Christian virtues were followed to the letter, because; it appears that injustice consumed the social, economic, and political scene. Racial segregation created a window for crucifixion of the black community. Conservative clergy believed in superiority of white community, and openly displayed that African Americans occupy an inferior position relative to whites.

Therefore, conservative clergy supported and felt that the system was just in its actions. They did not identify with the rebellion`s cry for change. In conclusion, the rebellion was an eruption after a period of constant economic, political, and cultural oppression. America`s population was divided along social status boundaries, living merchants and professionals on the side of government and farmers and laborers on the resistance side. The militia lost the battle but worn the war. They lost to the state but political figure lenient to Shay`s rebellion ideals assumed office and reduced the economic burden. Tax rates were revised. The period also inspired political revolution and resulted in a new government system.

Works cited
Humphrey, Thomas J., and Leonard L. Richards. Journal of American History 90.2 (2003): 625. Web. 18 July 2015. Miller, Brandon Marie. Thomas Jefferson For Kids. Chicago, Ill.: Chicago Review Press, 2011. Print. Smith, Jonathan. ‘The Depression Of 1785 And Daniel Shays’ Rebellion’. The William and Mary Quarterly 5.1 (1948): 77. Web. 18 July 2015.

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