Shays's Rebellion Questions and Answers

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What was the relationship between Shays' Rebellion and the calling of the Constitutional Convention?

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Shay's Rebellion laid bare one of the most fundamental problems of the system of government under the Articles of Confederation. The lack of centralized institutions prevented the United States from dealing with a number of pressing issues, both domestic and foreign. Law and order, for example, were inadequately dealt with under the terms of the Articles of Confederation. If there was a serious public order disturbance—like Shay's Rebellion—it could only be handled by the state authorities. Yet if the individual state concerned was unable or unwilling to deal with the relevant disorder, then there was no possibility of concerted action at a nationwide level.

To supporters of the existing system, this was as it should be. Ultimate sovereignty...

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