Shays's Rebellion Questions and Answers

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How did Shays' Rebellion help lead to significant changes in the USA?

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Shays’ Rebellion was one of many factors that led to changes in the United States. When the first plan of government, called the Articles of Confederation, was created, it was designed to create a weak federal government. People were very concerned that if the federal government was given too much authority it would abuse its power, similar to what British government had done with the colonists.

There were many issues in the United States because the federal government had limited powers under the Articles of Confederation. Financial issues existed, as the federal government was not allowed to tax people to raise money, so it couldn't pay its debts. Other countries pushed the United States around because the government couldn’t require people to join the military. When Daniel Shays led a rebellion in western Massachusetts over the high taxes people had to pay and the seizure of farms when farmers couldn’t pay their mortgages, the federal government didn’t respond to this rebellion. It was the state militia that ended the rebellion, again showing how weak and ineffective the federal government was. Because of this incident and other problems that existed in the United States, a meeting was held—the Constitutional Convention—to write a new plan of government for the country. This meeting led to the writing of the Constitution, which created a stronger federal government that had many more powers than the previous government had under the Articles of Confederation.

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