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Shays’ Rebellion. Depression & Hardship in America. Story of Rachel Wells, reveals the problems faced by the impoverished (weakened or poor) states:

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Shays’ Rebellion

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shays rebellion

Shays’ Rebellion

Depression & Hardship in America


Story of Rachel Wells, reveals the problems faced by the impoverished (weakened or poor) states:

“To the Honnorabell Congress I rachel do make this Complaint Who am a Widow advanced in years & Dearly have occasion of ye Interst for that Cash I lent the States. I was a Sitisen in ye jersey when I Lent ye State a considerable Sum of Moneys & had I justice dun me it mite be Suficant to suporte me in ye Contrey whear I am now…but Being…so Robd by the Britans & others I went to Phila(delphia) to try to get a living…& was There in the year 1783 when our assembley was pleasd to pas a Law that No one Should have aney Interest that Livd out of jearsey Stats…Now gentlemen in this Liberty, had it bin advertised that he or She that Moved out of the Stat should Louse his or her Interest you mite have sum plea against me…God has Spred a plentiful table for us & you gentlemen are ye Carvers for us preay forgit Not the Poor weaklings at the foot of the Tabel ye poor Sogers (soldiers) has got Sum Crumbs That fall from their masters tabel.”


Economic Depression

  • Congress borrowed money from citizens during the war to pay expenses
  • Thousands of soldiers came home after the war
    • Unemployment rose
  • Dollar value depreciated
    • States printed their own money/No national currency
  • Amount of exports dropped sharply
  • States forced money requests (high taxes)to pay the war debt & offset the lack of exports
    • Farmers did not have money to pay high taxes
    • State officials seized lands & threw farmers in jail
    • Many people called the govt. another form of tyranny
shays rebellion1
Farmers in western Mass. responded in 1786

Daniel Shays led a group that forced courts to close

Kept judges from taking land

Congress asked other state militias to help

States refused

January 1787 – 1,000 farmers marched on an arsenal in Springfield

State militia was ready & killed 4 farmers

Farmers scattered & uprising ended

Showed that the Articles needed to be re-addressed & amended

Shays’ Rebellion

Reactions to Rebellion

“I am mortified beyond expression, that in the moment of our independence we should by our conduct render ourselves ridiculous and contemptible in the eyes of all Europe.”

“We are all in dire apprehension that a beginning of anarchy with all its calamitys has approached, and have no means to stop the dreadful work.”

“I do not conceive we can exist long as a nation without…a power which will saturate the whole Union in as energetic manner as the authority of the state governments extends over each state.”