David Szatsmary: The Cause Of Shay's Rebellion

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In David Szatsmary’s book “Shay’s Rebellion” he discusses how the cause of the rebellion was a cultural conflict between two economic classes, the rural yeomen farmers and the mercantile elites of urban towns. During this time yeomen farmers “intensified cultivation of land only when they were driven by necessity” (4), and raised just enough livestock for their family needs with very little surplus left over. The merchants in the towns would generally make barters with the yeomen farmers for things that they could not make, but once Britain started demanding traded goods be paid for in gold and silver they quit accepting these trades. The state government also created harsh taxation programs that set up a land tax, that had to be paid in specie, to pay off the nation’s postwar debts. The issue with this land tax was that yeomen farmers did not have specie since they generally bartered to get goods. The harsh land taxes caused great tension, because while the yeomen were paying very high taxes the merchants and towns people payed very little since they owned little to no land. Tensions rose even more when the yeomen became unable to pay these taxes and “creditors tore yeomen from their land and movable property” (33). Not only was their land and property being sold for way less than …show more content…
The new Governor, John Hancock, implemented a non- rebel policy to get completely get rid of all the Shaysite rebellions. Many other states in the New England followed in his footsteps by setting up laws that wouldn’t allow their citizens to house the Shaysite rebels. Shay’s rebellion also influenced the ratification of the Constitution along with convincing government officials that the U.S needed a stronger national government. They believed a stronger national government was necessary to prevent an uprising of such large measures from happening

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