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The Shays Rebellion and the Origins of Sound Governance in the US - Essay Example

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From the essay "The Shay’s Rebellion and the Origins of Sound Governance in the US" it is clear that Shays’ Rebellion was more than a Massachusetts problem pitting disgruntled landowners and the merchant class, who had the unseen hand in the functioning of the state legislature…
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The Shays Rebellion and the Origins of Sound Governance in the US
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The Shays Rebellion and the Origins of Sound Governance in the US

Download file to see previous pages... With the cash flow literally gagged, the continental war veterans who had earlier received land as part of their compensation in order to quell their growing discontent with the national government found their only source of livelihoods threatened. Their usual receipt of continental notes, which would have provided them with a reprieve, had lost substantial value that even the government of the day no longer accepted them in form of taxes. The compensation woes notwithstanding, the immediate sealing off of the British agricultural markets right after the war made the situation, even more, worse; large stock inventories piled up, prompting a merchants’ dilemma of the repayment of the hitherto advanced agricultural debts. Unable to settle the outstanding debt with the English creditors, merchants turned on small debtors seizing properties [including land] to service loans. The state’s and the Confederation’s immediate economic remedy of raising taxes to fund the war debts stretched the already worse state of affairs even further. With the economy largely reduced into the traditional barter system, farmers and rural artisans essentially owed creditors and the tax man cash that was literally nonexistent. Their [farmers] attempts to petition the Massachusetts legislature to revise the state’s constitution to enable fair taxation, equal representation, issue paper money and/or pass tender laws that would permit debtors to service their loans in goods and services alongside the hard currency bore no fruits.5 A legislature dominated by commercial interests, the proposed reforms never featured beyond the petition. Rather than being sympathetic enough to the protesters’ genuine public concern, assemblymen responded with contempt charging that:
“They, the people, are luxurious in their diet, idle and profligate in their manners, encouragers of foreign manufacturers.”6
As the economy increasingly worsened, they [debtors/farmers] found themselves hauled up in losing court battles with quite a number of defaulters ending up in state prisons; an ultimate fate that was probably imminent for Daniel Shays, ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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