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Shays' Rebellion highlighted the oppression Massachusetts farmers faced as a result of high state taxes designed to pay debt incurred from the Revolutionary War.
European merchants demanded debt payment in cash, leaving each state to pay a certain amount.
Farmers who were unable to pay their taxes due to hard times, such as droughts or other disasters, were imprisoned.
Shays and his followers were dissatisfied with their state government’s lack of laws protecting debtors.
They carried out rebellions by closing courthouses and hindering the ability of debt collectors to do their work.
They were forcibly stopped by militia men paid for by merchants who demanded the high taxes.
Consequently, the Articles of Confederation’s inability to raise taxes and protect the economic welfare of the young Republic led to the drafting of the US Constitution, which gives Congress the power to levy taxes and promote trade.
Shays' Rebellion emphasized the need for a strong government capable of protecting and administering the nation’s economic system.
State governors learned that it was to their benefit to pass debt legislation that addressed constituent needs.
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