I bet you never realised that a rebellion by a farm hand, called Shays, led to the American Constitution as we know it today.
It all happened because the new federal government increased their efforts to collect taxes and Daniel Shays, a farmhand veteran of the war of independence, led 4,000 people in protest. He led them to march on the federal Springfield Armory in an unsuccessful attempt to seize its weaponry and overthrow the government. However, the federal government couldn’t fund the soldiers to put down the rebellion, which meant that this job fell on the Massachusetts State militia.
It is said that this was the catalyst that made the States realise that the Articles of Confederation were an inadequate as the country’s governing document. This led to a spirited debate among the states as to whether there was a need for a stronger central government,
Shays’ Rebellion was the catalyst that caused just five states to try to thrash out a new constitution, however, they quickly realised that they needed all the states involved, therefore, they called for a convention of all the states at Philadelphia in May 1787.
The convention was dominated by strong-government advocates, a result, I believe, of the Shays Rebellion.
President George Washington was quick to use the military power the new constitution gave him when the Whiskey Act was passed. It led to protests against the taxes the Act imposed that escalated and were only put down by the powers given to him in the new constitution, they allowed Washington to lead the militia to put down what is now known as the Whiskey Rebellion.
Who would have thought that a little rebellion by a farm hand called Shays could have such an effect?
Isn’t history Fun?
“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back
and realize they were the big things.” –
Robert Brault – American Author