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The Whiskey And Shay's Rebellion Essay

1558 words - 7 pages

The Whiskey and Shay Rebellion
There were many rebellions in the United States history, some peaceful and some violent. Shays' Rebellion in 1786 and the Whiskey Rebellion in 1794 are examples of two brutal rebellions that led to the deaths of many innocent people. Rebellions can develop due to many conditions including unfair laws, in this case the raised taxation of Whiskey, unfair treatment, and disagreements over sensitive topics. The Shays' Rebellion showed the Articles of Confederation was too weak, while the Whiskey Rebellion proved the Constitution to be a strong framework of government.
Shays' Rebellion, in Massachusetts, was the first uprising in the new nation. During the time period of 1786-1787, The United States government decided to raise taxes in order to raise capital and pay off war debt, which ultimately led to an economic depression.. A great postwar depression meant that prices for farm produce in general decreased. Many farmers became overcome with debt, causing seizure of their property when they were forced to default on their debts. Such a tense environment erupted in a rebellion as a protest against the Massachusetts government's refusal to provide economic relief to the struggling farmers of the state (Carson, Bonk). A rebel group known as the Regulators, led by Daniel Shays, a veteran of the American Revolutionary War, began to form (Stock). Daniel Shays was the son of an Irish immigrant and joined the Continental Army at the beginning of the American Revolution and managed to attain the rank of captain before returning home (Bigelow). He became a typical farmer, who eventually fell into debt, along with many of his neighbors. It is a shame that the 'American Dream' led to many people falling into debt. As an elected local representative, Shays was a member of petition groups, groups that opposed the government's ignorance to demands of paper currency, like Rhode Island, to solve their debt problems. Daniel Shays was fit to be a leader of this revolt because his goals were clear and he was not afraid of the state government. But the Massachusetts' citizen's demands were largely ignored. Because most of the poor farmers of the rural west were not eligible to vote, compiled with seeing their farms foreclosed on and their property confiscated, they armed themselves into a group composed of infuriated farmers had their sights set on destroying the Massachusetts government. As a poor American farmer trying to make a decent living for my family, it is conceivable for them to be angered by this tax raise.
The first event was in 1786, where a group of protestors made a nonviolent show of force aimed at closing down the civil courts that prosecuted the debt cases, and succeeded in preventing courts from sitting. The state militia withdrew to guard the federal armory at Springfield; but there were concerns that the Regulators would go after the weapons and gunpowder stored there (Stock). The government finally...

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