Shays's Rebellion

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Why did Daniel Shays rebel?

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Shays rebelled because, like his fellow farmers, he was fed up with high taxes and an unresponsive government. As the U.S. forged forward as an independent nation after the Revolutionary War, many farmers faced steep debt as they established their operations. Several states either forgave debts or printed more money (or both) as a way to help farmers get started. But not Massachusetts. Instead, the government seized land and jailed indebted farmers. Moreover, Massachusetts charged higher taxes than other states.

The farmers responded much as U.S. colonists did when protesting British taxes they felt unfair, by organizing meetings and plotting strategy. In autumn of 1876, they banded together to physically force the closure of courts (so they couldn't try...

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