Shay’s Rebellion was basically a rebellion called forth by the oppressed farmers of Western Massachusetts against the government and court for the increased taxes they had to pay despite the low prices of their crops. …
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This Rebellion is named after Daniel Shay, a veteran of the revolutionary war who returned from the war to find that like most of the other farmers; he had also incurred a huge amount of debt in a short time. The farmers petitioned against the courts but the courts comprising of mostly wealthy merchants were unconcerned with the plight of the poor farmers. This unconcerned attitude of the wealthy merchants forced the farmers to rebel against the system and thus the rebellion took shape under the guidance of Daniel Shay and other leader such as Henry Gale, Luke Days, and Samuel Ely etc.
While the rebellion ended with the execution of most of the rebels, the rebellion still made its mark on history. The government realized the impact of the need for a central government. Also this rebellion opened the eyes of many of the plight of the poor and their inability to demand any power in the system. In this paper, we will discuss how the disparity between the rich and the poor led to Shay’s rebellion and how Shay’s rebellion was similar to other rebellion because of the clash between the rich and the poor. We attempt to understand the rebellion by exploring disparity between the rich and the poor as a catalyst and cause of the rebellions.
had taken loans from the merchants whom they were unable to pay because the low prices of the crops and the economic condition of the country after the Revolutionary War. In order to fund the Revolutionary War, the government had taken debts from war investors residing in different country. Due to the depression that usually follows a war; the government was unable to repay the loan on a timely matter. American owed 5 million to Britain and who demanded hard currency in the form of gold and silver. To relieve these loans, the government increased the taxes of the public. Since the Congress at that time had no power over the taxes, they pressurized the states to increase the taxes. While the taxes increased for everyone, the farmers felt the biggest burden since their taxes were the highest and they already belonged to the poor class. This unfair debt collection forced the farmers to rebel against the system as their earning only fulfilled the needs of their families and they did not have anything left to pay taxes with. Inflation was also on the rise after the revolutionary war since each state had started the practice of creating their paper currency. ‘During the war with Great Britain, Congress and the 13 states (formerly colonies) flooded paper currency into the economy, in an effort to meet the need for suppliers for the army and the militia’ (Danver, 208). This rendered the paper currency as worthless and led to an increase in inflation which may have benefited the rich merchants but was felt hard by the poor farmers. The farmers in order to pay their loans took debts from the local merchants. Since the farmers earned only enough to support their families, the debt continued to increase while the taxes were also increasing at a steady rate. Most of the
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