27 dezembro 2012

Daniel Shays' Revolt: old times, same problems

"Shays and his followers protested against the conduct of creditors in foreclosing mortgages upon the debt-burdened farmers, against the lawyers for increasing the costs of legal proceedings, against the senate of the state the members of which were apportioned among the towns on the basis of the amount of taxes paid, against heavy taxes [...]" 

"In Massachusetts the malcontents, under the leadership of Daniel Shays, a captain in the Revolutionary army, organized that same year open resistance to the government of the state. 

Shays and his followers protested against the conduct of creditors in foreclosing mortgages upon the debt-burdened farmers, against the lawyers for increasing the costs of legal proceedings, against the senate of the state the members of which were apportioned among the towns on the basis of the amount of taxes paid, against heavy taxes, and against the refusal of the legislature to issue paper money.

They seized the towns of Worcester and Springfield and broke up the courts of justice. All through the western part of the state the revolt spread, sending a shock of alarm to every center and section of the young republic. Only by the most vigorous action was Governor Bowdoin able to quell the uprising; and when that task was accomplished, the state government did not dare to execute any of the prisoners because they had so many sympathizers.

Moreover, Bowdoin and several members of the legislature who had been most zealous in their attacks on the insurgents were defeated at the ensuing election. The need of national assistance for state governments in times of domestic violence was everywhere emphasized by men who were opposed to revolutionary acts".

From the History of the United States, by Charles A. Beard and Mary R. Beard. Read more...