Springfield Armory - Shays' Rebellion (1787)

Shays' Rebellion (1787)

In 1786, Daniel Shays, a Revolutionary War hero, became one of the leaders of a large group of rebels, who came mostly from Western Massachusetts, but also from surrounding states. These rebels had grievances with the Government of Massachusetts, which ranged from land seizure for debts incurred while fighting the Revolutionary War to the paucity of paper money, to the desire for the Commonwealth to move its capital from Boston to a midpoint in the State. Rebels planned to use the Armory's weapons to force the closure of the State and county courts, and thus make their grievances law, enforceable by the largest collection of weapons in America.

The cannons of an organized state militia confronted two rebel armies, and thus Shays' Rebellion failed—largely due to a miscommunication with a third general, who had unilaterally postponed the attack until the following day, but word never reached the other two armies.

This key event led to the Federal Constitution Convention, in which the Federal Government was given much more power than the individual states. Shays' Rebellion led many of the upper classes, who feared a popular uprising, to vote for the new federal Constitution that supported a stronger central government.

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