What influence do the word/ideas presented by Thomas Jefferson seem to have had on Daniel Shays?

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mkoren eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Thomas Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of Independence that every person has certain rights that can’t be taken away by anybody. He went on to say that if the government doesn’t protect the rights of the people, the people must replace the government. These rights are called the inalienable rights and include the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Daniel Shays believed the government was abusing the rights of the people. Farmers in western Massachusetts were upset that their farms were being taken away when the farmers couldn’t pay their debts. Farmers were required to pay their debts in gold or silver. It was difficult for farmers to obtain the gold or silver needed to pay their debts. Farmers were having a hard time selling their crops, and people were concerned that the paper currency had little to no value. Since the government in Massachusetts didn’t pass laws to protect people in debt, farms were being seized when debts weren’t paid. Thus, the farmers revolted to try to keep their farms. After much confusion about who should act to end the rebellion, the militia of Massachusetts put down the rebellion. This rebellion highlighted the need for a new plan of government that would give the federal government more power.

Daniel Shays believed the government wasn’t protecting the rights of the farmers in western Massachusetts. Therefore, he modeled Thomas Jefferson’s ideas and led a rebellion to try to make changes in the government or government policies.