Question:

Is Shay's rebellion what caused the merchants and farmers to rebel?

Answer:

Not really. Shays' Rebellion was a manifestation of the farmers' frustrations; it didn't cause them to rebel, it was an example.

More Info:

Shays Rebellion was an armed uprising that took place in central and western Massachusetts in 1786 and 1787. The rebellion was named after Daniel Shays, a veteran of the American Revolutionary War and one of the rebel leaders. The rebellion started on August 29, 1786. It was precipitated by several factors: financial difficulties brought about by a post-war economic depression, a credit squeeze caused by a lack of hard currency, and fiscally harsh government policies instituted in 1785 to solve the state's debt problems. Protesters, including many war veterans, shut down county courts in the later months of 1786 to stop the judicial hearings for tax and debt collection. The protesters became radicalized against the state government following the arrests of some of their leaders, and began to organize an armed force. A militia raised as a private army defeated a Shaysite (rebel) attempt to seize the federal Springfield Armory in late January 1787, killing four and wounding 20. The main Shaysite force was scattered on February 4, 1787, after a surprise attack on their camp in Petersham, Massachusetts. Scattered resistance continued until June 1787, with the single most significant action being an incident in Sheffield in late February, where 30 rebels were wounded (one mortally) in a skirmish with government troops. The rebellion took place in a political climate where reform of the country's governing document, the Articles of Confederation, was widely seen as necessary. The events of the rebellion, most of which occurred after the Philadelphia Convention had been called but before it began in May 1787, are widely seen to have affected the debates on the shape of the new government. The exact nature and consequence of the rebellion's influence on the content of the Constitution and the ratification debates continues to be a subject of historical discussion and debate. In the rural parts of New England, particularly in central and western Massachusetts, the economy during the American Revolutionary War had been one of little more than subsistence agriculture. Most residents in these areas had little in the way of assets beyond their land, and often bartered with one another for goods or services. In lean times, farmers might obtain goods on credit from suppliers in local market towns who would be paid when times were better. In the more economically developed coastal areas of Massachusetts Bay, the economy was basically a market economy, driven by the activities of wholesale merchants dealing with Europe, the West Indies and elsewhere on the North American coast. Not surprisingly, the state government was dominated by this merchant class. When the Revolutionary War ended in 1783, the European business partners of Massachusetts merchants refused to extend lines of credit to them and insisted that goods be paid for with hard currency. Despite the continent-wide shortage of such currency, merchants began to demand the same from their local business partners, including those merchants operating in the market towns in the state's interior. Many of these merchants passed on this demand to their customers, although the popular governor, John Hancock, did not impose hard currency demands on poorer borrowers and refused to actively prosecute the collection of delinquent taxes. The rural farming population was generally unable to meet the demands being made of them by merchants or the civil authorities, and individuals began to lose their land and other possessions when they were unable to fulfill their debt and tax obligations. This led to strong resentments against tax collectors and the courts, where creditors obtained and enforced judgments against debtors, and where tax collectors obtained judgments authorizing property seizures. At a meeting convened by aggrieved commoners, a farmer, Plough Jogger, encapsulated the situation: Overlaid upon these financial issues was the fact that veterans of the war had received little pay during the war and faced difficulty collecting back pay owed them from the State or the Congress of the Confederation. Some of the soldiers, Daniel Shays among them, began to organize protests against these oppressive economic conditions. Shays was a poor farmhand from Massachusetts when the Revolution broke out; he joined the Continental Army, saw action at the Battles of Lexington and Concord, Bunker Hill and Saratoga, and was eventually wounded in action. In 1780, he resigned from the army unpaid and went home to find himself in court for nonpayment of debts. He soon realized that he was not alone in his inability to pay his debts and began organizing for debt relief. One early protest against the government was led by Job Shattuck of Groton, who in 1782 organized residents there to physically prevent tax collectors from doing their work. A second, larger-scale protest took place in the central Massachusetts town of Uxbridge, in Worcester County, on Feb. 3, 1783, when a mob seized property that had been confiscated by a local constable and returned it to its owners. Governor Hancock ordered the sheriff to suppress these actions. Most rural communities, however, attempted to use the legislative process to gain relief. Petitions and proposals were repeatedly submitted to the state legislature to issue paper currency. Such inflationary issues would depreciate the currency, making it possible to meet obligations made at high values with lower-valued paper. The merchants, among them James Bowdoin, were opposed to the very idea, since they were generally lenders who stood to lose from such proposals. As a result, these proposals were repeatedly rejected. Governor Hancock, accused by some of anticipating trouble, resigned citing health reasons in early 1785. When Bowdoin (a perennial loser to Hancock in earlier elections) was elected governor that year, matters became more severe. Bowdoin stepped up civil actions to collect back taxes, and the legislature exacerbated the situation by levying an additional property tax to raise funds for the state's portion of foreign debt payments. Even comparatively conservative commentators such as John Adams observed that these levies were "heavier than the People could bear." Protests in the rural Massachusetts turned into direct action in August 1786, after the state legislature adjourned without considering the many petitions that had been sent to Boston. On August 29 a well-organized force of protestors formed in Northampton and successfully prevented the county court from sitting. The leaders of this and later forces proclaimed that they were seeking relief from the burdensome judicial processes that were depriving the people of their land and possessions. They called themselves Regulators, a reference to the Regulator movement of North Carolina that sought to reform corrupt practices in the late 1760s. On September 2 Governor Bowdoin issued a proclamation denouncing such mob action, but took no military measures in response beyond planning militia response to future actions. When the court in Worcester was shut down by similar action on September 5, the county militia (composed mainly of men sympathetic to the protestors) refused to turn out, much to Bowdoin's amazement. Governors of the neighboring states where similar protests took place acted decisively, calling out the militia to hunt down the ringleaders after the first such protests. In Rhode Island, matters were resolved without violence because the "country party" gained control of the legislature in 1786 and enacted measures forcing its merchant elites to trade debt instruments for devalued currency. The impact of this was not lost on Boston's merchants, especially Bowdoin, who held more than £3,000 in Massachusetts notes. Daniel Shays, who had participated in the Northampton action, began to take a more active role in the uprising in November, though he firmly denied that he was one of its leaders. On September 19, the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts indicted eleven leaders of the rebellion as "disorderly, riotous, and seditious persons." When the supreme judicial court was next scheduled to meet in Springfield on September 26, Shays in Hampshire County and Luke Day in what is now Hampden County (but was then part of Hampshire County) organized an attempt to shut it down. They were anticipated by William Shepard, the local militia commander, who began gathering government-supporting militia the Saturday before the court was to sit. By the time the court was ready to open, Shepard had 300 men protecting the Springfield courthouse. Shays and Day were able to recruit a similar number, but chose only to demonstrate, exercising their troops outside Shepard's lines, rather than attempt to seize the building. The judges first postponed the hearings, and then adjourned on the 28th without hearing any cases. Shepard withdrew his force, which had grown to some 800 men (to the Regulators' 1,200), to the federal armory, which was then only rumored to be the target of seizure by the activists. Protests in Great Barrington, Concord, and Taunton were also successful in shutting courts down in those communities in September and October. James Warren wrote to John Adams on October 22, "We are now in a state of Anarchy and Confusion bordering on Civil War." Courts in the larger towns and cities were able to meet, but required protection of the militia, which Bowdoin called out for the purpose. The Boston elites were mortified at this resistance. Governor Bowdoin commanded the legislature to "vindicate the insulted dignity of government." Samuel Adams claimed that foreigners ("British emissaries") were instigating treason among the commoners, and he helped draw up a Riot Act, and a resolution suspending habeas corpus in order to permit the authorities to keep people in jail without trial. Adams even proposed a new legal distinction: that rebellion in a republic, unlike in a monarchy, should be punished by execution. The legislature also moved to make some concessions to the upset farmers, saying certain old taxes could now be paid in goods instead of hard currency. These measures were followed up by one prohibiting speech critical of the government, and offering pardons to protestors willing to take an oath of allegiance. These legislative actions were unsuccessful in quelling the protests, and the suspension of habeas corpus alarmed many. In late November warrants were issued for the arrest of several of the protest ringleaders. On November 28 a posse of some 300 men rode to Groton to arrest Job Shattuck and other rebel leaders in the area. Shattuck was chased down and arrested on the 30th, and was wounded by a sword slash in the process. This action and the arrest of other protest leaders in the eastern parts of the state radicalized those in the west, and they began to organize an overthrow of the state government. "The seeds of war are now sown", wrote one correspondent in Shrewsbury, and by mid-January rebel leaders spoke of smashing the "tyrannical government of Massachusetts." Since the federal government had been unable to recruit soldiers for the army (primarily because of a lack of funding), the Massachusetts elites determined to act independently. On January 4, 1787, Governor Bowdoin proposed creation of a privately funded militia army. Former Continental Army General Benjamin Lincoln solicited funds, and had by the end of January raised more than £6,000 from more than 125 merchants. The 3,000 militia that were recruited into this army were almost entirely from the eastern counties of Massachusetts, and marched to Worcester on January 19. While the government forces organized, Shays, Day, and other rebel leaders in the west organized their forces, establishing regional regimental organizations that were run by democratically elected committees. Their first major target was the federal armory in Springfield. General Shepard had however, pursuant to orders from Governor Bowdoin, taken possession of the armory and used its arsenal to arm a force of some 1,200 militia. He had done this despite the fact that the armory was federal, not state, property, and that he did not have permission from Secretary at War Henry Knox to do so. The insurgents were organized into three major groups, and intended to surround and simultaneously attack the armory. Shays had one group east of Springfield near Palmer, Luke Day had a second force across the Connecticut River in West Springfield, and the third force, under Eli Parsons, was to the north at Chicopee. The rebels had planned their assault for January 25, but Luke Day changed this at the last minute, sending Shays a message indicating he would not be ready to attack until the 26th. Day's message was intercepted by Shepard's men, so the militia of Shays and Parsons, some 1,500 men, approached the armory on the 25th not knowing they would have no support from the west. When Shays and his forces neared the armory, they found Shepard's militia waiting for them. Shepard first ordered warning shots fired over the approaching Shaysites' heads, and then ordered two cannons to fire grape shot at Shays's men. Four Shaysites were killed and twenty wounded. There was no musket fire from either side, and the rebel advance collapsed. Most of the rebel force fled north, eventually regrouping at Amherst. On the opposite side of the river, Day's forces also fled north, also eventually reaching Amherst. General Lincoln, when he heard of the Springfield incident, immediately began marching west from Worcester with the 3,000 men that had mustered. The rebels moved generally north and east to avoid Lincoln, eventually establishing a camp at Petersham; along the way they raided the shops of local merchants for supplies, taking some of them hostage. Lincoln pursued them, reaching Pelham, some 30 miles (48 km) from Petersham, on February 2. On the night of February 3–4, he led his militia on a forced march to Petersham through a bitter snowstorm. Arriving early in the morning, they surprised the rebel camp so thoroughly that they scattered "without time to call in their out parties or even their guards." Although Lincoln claimed to capture 150 men, none of them were officers, leading historian Leonard Richards to suspect the veracity of the report. Most of the leadership escaped north into New Hampshire and Vermont, where they were sheltered despite repeated demands that they be returned to Massachusetts for trial. Lincoln's march marked the end of large-scale organized resistance. Ringleaders who eluded capture fled to neighboring states, and pockets of local resistance continued. Some rebel leaders approached Lord Dorchester, the British governor of Quebec for assistance, who was reported to promise assistance in the form of Mohawk warriors led by Joseph Brant. (Dorchester's proposal was vetoed in London, and no assistance came to the rebels.) The same day that Lincoln arrived at Petersham, the state legislature passed bills authorizing a state of martial law, giving the governor broad powers to act against the rebels. The bills also authorized state payments to reimburse Lincoln and the merchants who had funded the army, and authorized the recruitment of additional militia. On February 12 the legislature passed the Disqualification Act, seeking to prevent a legislative response by rebel sympathizers. This bill expressly forbade any acknowledged rebels from holding a variety of elected and appointed offices. Most of Lincoln's army melted away in late February as enlistments expired; by the end of the month he commanded but thirty men at a base in Pittsfield. In the meantime some 120 rebels had regrouped in New Lebanon, New York, and on February 27 they crossed the border. Marching first on Stockbridge, a major market town in the southwestern corner of the state, they raided the shops of merchants and the homes of merchants and local professionals. This came to the attention of Brigadier John Ashley, who mustered a force of some 80 men, and caught up with the rebels in nearby Sheffield late in the day. In the bloodiest encounter of the rebellion, 30 rebels were wounded (one mortally), at least one government soldier was killed, and many were wounded. Ashley, who was further reinforced after the encounter, reported taking 150 prisoners. Four thousand people signed confessions acknowledging participation in the events of the rebellion (in exchange for amnesty); several hundred participants were eventually indicted on charges relating to the rebellion. Most of these were pardoned under a general amnesty that only excluded a few ringleaders. Eighteen men were convicted and sentenced to death, but most of these were either overturned on appeal, pardoned, or had their sentences commuted. Two of the condemned men, John Bly and Charles Rose, were hanged on December 6, 1787. Shays himself was pardoned in 1788 and he returned to Massachusetts from hiding in the Vermont woods. He was, however, vilified by the Boston press, who painted him as an archetypal anarchist opposed to the government. He later moved to the Conesus, New York, area, where he lived until he died poor and obscure in 1825. The crushing of the rebellion and the harsh terms of reconciliation imposed by the Disqualification Act all worked against Governor Bowdoin politically. In the gubernatorial election held in April 1787, Bowdoin received few votes from the rural parts of the state, and was trounced by John Hancock. The military victory was tempered by tax changes in subsequent years. The legislature elected in 1787 cut taxes and placed a moratorium on debts. It also refocused state spending away from interest payments, resulting in a 30% decline in the value of Massachusetts securities as those payments fell in arrears. Vermont, then an unrecognized independent republic that had been seeking statehood independent from New York's claims to the territory, became an unexpected beneficiary of the rebellion due to its sheltering of the rebel ringleaders. Alexander Hamilton broke from other New Yorkers, including major landowners with claims on Vermont territory, calling for the state to recognize and support Vermont's bid for admission to the union. He cited Vermont's de facto independence and its ability to cause trouble by providing support to the discontented from neighboring states as reasons, and introduced legislation that broke the impasse between New York and Vermont. Vermonters responded favorably to the overture, publically pushing Eli Parsons and Luke Day out of the state (but quietly continuing to support others). After negotiations with New York and the passage of the new constitution, Vermont became the fourteenth state. Thomas Jefferson, who was serving as ambassador to France at the time, refused to be alarmed by Shays' Rebellion. In a letter to a friend, he argued that a little rebellion now and then is a good thing. "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure." In contrast to Jefferson's sentiments George Washington, who had been calling for constitutional reform for many years, wrote in a letter to Henry Lee, "You talk, my good sir, of employing influence to appease the present tumults in Massachusetts. I know not where that influence is to be found, or, if attainable, that it would be a proper remedy for the disorders. Influence is not government. Let us have a government by which our lives, liberties, and properties will be secured, or let us know the worst at once." At the time of the rebellion, the weaknesses of the federal government as constituted under the Articles of Confederation were apparent to many. A vigorous debate was going on throughout the states on the need for a stronger central government, with Federalists arguing for the idea, and Anti-Federalists opposing them. Historical opinion is divided on what sort of role the rebellion played in the formation and later ratification of the United States Constitution, although most scholars agree it played some role, at least temporarily drawing some anti-Federalists to the strong government side. By early 1785 many influential merchants and political leaders were already agreed that a stronger central government was needed. A convention at Annapolis, Maryland, in September 1786 of delegates from five states concluded that vigorous steps needed to be taken to reform the federal government, but it disbanded because of a lack of full representation, calling for a convention of all the states to be held in Philadelphia in May 1787. Historian Robert Feer notes that several prominent figures had hoped that convention would fail, requiring a larger-scale convention, and French diplomat Louis-Guillaume Otto thought the convention was intentionally broken off early to achieve this end. In early 1787 John Jay wrote that the rural disturbances and the inability of the central government to fund troops in response made "the inefficiency of the Federal government [become] more and more manifest." Henry Knox observed that the uprising in Massachusetts clearly influenced local leaders who had previously opposed a strong federal government. Historian David Szatmary writes that the timing of the rebellion "convinced the elites of sovereign states that the proposed gathering at Philadelphia must take place." Some states, Massachusetts among them, delayed choosing delegates to the proposed convention, in part because in some ways it resembled the "extra-legal" conventions organized by the protestors before the rebellion became violent. The convention that met in Philadelphia was dominated by strong-government advocates. Delegate Oliver Ellsworth of Connecticut argued that because the people could not be trusted (as exemplified by Shays' Rebellion), the members of the federal House of Representatives should be chosen by state legislatures, not by popular vote. The example of Shays' Rebellion may also have been influential in the addition of language to the constitution concerning the ability of states to manage domestic violence, and their ability to demand the return of individuals from other states for trial. The rebellion also played a role in the discussion of a number of the executives. While fearing tyranny, delegates of the Constitutional Convention though that the single executive would be more effective in responding to national disturbances. Federalists cited the rebellion as an example of the confederation government's weaknesses, while opponents such as Elbridge Gerry thought that a federal response to the rebellion would have been even worse than that of the state. (Gerry, a merchant speculator and Massachusetts delegate from Essex County, was one of the few convention delegates who refused to sign the new constitution, although his reasons for doing so did not stem from the rebellion.) When the constitution had been drafted, Massachusetts was viewed by Federalists as a state that might not ratify it, because of widespread anti-Federalist sentiment in the rural parts of the state. Massachusetts Federalists, including Henry Knox, were active in courting swing votes in the debates leading up to the state's ratifying convention in 1788. When the vote was taken on February 6, 1788, representatives of rural communities involved in the rebellion voted against ratification by a wide margin, but the day was carried by a coalition of merchants, urban elites, and market town leaders. The state ratified the constitution by a vote of 187 to 168. Historians are divided on the impact the rebellion had on the ratification debates. Robert Feer notes that major Federalist pamphleteers rarely mentioned it, and that some anti-Federalists used the fact that Massachusetts survived the rebellion as evidence that a new constitution was unnecessary. However, Leonard Richards counters that publications like the Pennsylvania Gazette explicitly tied anti-Federalist opinion to the rebel cause, calling opponents of the new constitution "Shaysites" and the Federalists "Washingtonians". David Szatmary argues that debate in some states was affected, particularly in Massachusetts, where the rebellion had a polarizing effect. Richards records Henry Jackson's observation that opposition to ratification in Massachusetts was motivated by "that cursed spirit of insurgency", but that broader opposition in other states originated in other constitutional concerns expressed by Elbridge Gerry, who published a widely distributed pamphlet outlining his concerns about the vagueness of some of the powers granted in the constitution and its lack of a Bill of Rights. The military powers enshrined in the constitution were soon put to use by President George Washington. After the passage by the United States Congress of the Whiskey Act, protest against the taxes it imposed began in western Pennsylvania. The protests escalated and Washington led federal and state militia to put down what is now known as the Whiskey Rebellion. The events and people of the uprising are commemorated in the towns where they lived and those where events took place. Sheffield erected a memorial (pictured above) marking the site of the "last battle", and Pelham memorialized Daniel Shays. US Route 202, which runs through Pelham, is called the Daniel Shays Highway. A statue of General Shepard was erected in his hometown of Westfield.
Daniel Shays (c.1747 – September 29, 1825) was an American soldier, revolutionary, and farmer famous for being one of the leaders of Shays' Rebellion, a populist uprising against oppressive debt collection and tax policies in Massachusetts in 1786 and 1787. Daniel Shays was born in 1747 in Hopkinton, Massachusetts, the son of two Irish immigrants, Patrick and Margaret (Dempsey) Shays. Daniel was the second of six siblings. He spent his early years as a landless farm laborer. In 1772, he married Abigail Gilbert, with whom he settled in Brookfield, Massachusetts. Shays joined the local militia during the American Revolution, rising to the rank of captain in the 5th Massachusetts Regiment by 1777. He was involved in the Boston campaign, and fought at the Battle of Bunker Hill. He also fought in the Battle of Lexington and the Battle of Saratoga. He was wounded during the war and resigned from the military, unpaid, in 1780. Upon returning home, he discovered he was summoned to court for unpaid debts, which he still could not pay because he was not paid for military service. In 1780, Shays was presented with an ornamental sword by General Lafayette, in honor of his military service. Shays later sold the sword for a few dollars to pay off his debts—an act which was frowned upon by his peers. After returning from the war, Daniel Shays was alarmed to discover that many of his fellow veterans and farmers were in the same financial situation as he. Commoners' meetings revealed that veterans were treated unfairly upon release, and businessmen were trying to squeeze money out of smallholders in order to pay their own debts to European war investors. Many Massachusetts rural communities first tried to petition the legislature in Boston, but the legislature was dominated by eastern merchant interests and did not respond substantively to those petitions. The petitions and proposals often included a request to issue paper currency. Such inflationary issues would depreciate the currency, making it possible to meet obligations made at high values with lower-valued paper. The merchants, among them James Bowdoin, were opposed, because they were generally lenders who stood to lose by such proposals. As a result these proposals were repeatedly rejected. Governor John Hancock, accused by some of anticipating trouble, abruptly resigned in early 1785. When Bowdoin (a perennial loser to Hancock in earlier elections) was elected governor that year, matters became more severe. Bowdoin stepped up civil actions to collect back taxes, and the legislature exacerbated the situation by levying an additional property tax to raise funds for the state's portion of foreign debt payments. Even comparatively conservative commentators like John Adams observed that these levies were "heavier than the People could bear." Protests in the rural Massachusetts turned into direct action in August 1786, after the state legislature adjourned without considering the many petitions that had been sent to Boston. On August 29 a well-organized force of protestors, Shays among them, marched on Northampton and successfully prevented the county court from sitting. The leaders of this and later forces proclaimed that they were seeking relief from the burdensome judicial processes that were depriving the people of their land and possessions. They called themselves Regulators, a reference to the Regulator movement of North Carolina that sought to reform corrupt practices in the late 1760s. On September 2 Governor Bowdoin issued a proclamation denouncing such mob action, but took no military measures in response beyond planning militia response to future actions. When the court in Worcester was shut down by similar action on September 5, the county militia (composed mainly of men sympathetic to the protestors) refused to turn out, much to Bowdoin's amazement. Shays, who had participated in the Northampton action, began to take a more active leadership role in the uprising in November. On September 19, the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts indicted eleven leaders of the rebellion as "disorderly, riotous, and seditious persons." When the supreme judicial court was next scheduled to meet in Springfield on September 26, Shays in Hampshire County and Luke Day in what is now Hampden County (but was then part of Hampshire County) organized an attempt to shut it down. They were anticipated by William Shepard, the local militia commander, who began gathering government-supporting militia the Saturday before the court was to sit. By the time the court was ready to open, Shepard had 300 men protecting the Springfield courthouse. Shays and Day were able to recruit a similar number, but chose only to demonstrate, exercising their troops outside Shepard's lines, rather than attempt to seize the building. The judges first postponed the hearings, and then adjourned on the 28th without hearing any cases. Shepard withdrew his force, which had grown to some 800 men (to the Regulators' 1,200), to the federal armory, which was then only rumored to be the target of seizure by the activists. On November 28 a posse of some 300 men rode to Groton to arrest Job Shattuck and other protest leaders in the area. Shattuck was chased down and arrested on the 30th, and was wounded by a sword slash in the process. This action and the arrest of other protest leaders in the eastern parts of the state radicalized those in the west, and they began to organize an overthrow of the state government. "The seeds of war are now sown", wrote one correspondent in Shrewsbury, and by mid-January rebel leaders spoke of smashing the "tyrannical government of Massachusetts." While government forces organized in the east, Shays, Day, and other rebel leaders in the west organized their forces, establishing regional regimental organizations that were run by democratically elected committees. Their first major target was the federal armory in Springfield. General Shepard had however, pursuant to orders from Governor Bowdoin, taken possession of the armory and used its arsenal to arm a force of some 1,200 militia. The insurgents were organized into three major groups, and intended to surround and simultaneously attack the armory. Shays led one group east of Springfield near Palmer, Luke Day had a second force across the Connecticut River in West Springfield, and the third force, under Eli Parsons, was to the north at Chicopee. The rebels had planned their assault for January 25, but Luke Day changed this at the last minute, sending Shays a message indicating he would not be ready to attack until the 26th. Day's message was intercepted by Shepard's men, so the militia of Shays and Parsons, some 1,500 men, approached the armory on the 25th not knowing they would have no support from the west. When Shays and his forces neared the armory, they found Shepard's militia waiting for them. Shepard first ordered warning shots fired over the approaching Shaysites' heads, and then ordered two cannons to fire grape shot at Shays's men. Four Shaysites were killed and twenty wounded. There was no musket fire from either side, and the rebel advance collapsed. Most of the rebel force fled north, eventually regrouping at Amherst. On the opposite side of the river, Day's forces also fled north, also eventually reaching Amherst. General Benjamin Lincoln had mustered 3,000 men at Worcester to deal with the rebels. When he heard of the Springfield incident, they immediately began marching west. Shays led the rebel force generally north and east to avoid Lincoln, eventually establishing a camp at Petersham; along the way they raided the shops of local merchants for supplies, taking some of them hostage. Lincoln pursued them, reaching Pelham, some 30 miles (48 km) from Petersham, on February 2. On the night of February 3–4, he led his militia on a forced march to Petersham through a bitter snowstorm. Arriving early in the morning, they surprised the rebel camp so thoroughly that they scattered "without time to call in their out parties or even their guards." Although Lincoln claimed to capture 150 men, none of them were officers, leading historian Leonard Richards to suspect the veracity of the report. Shays and some of the other leaders escaped north into New Hampshire and Vermont. Some four thousand people signed confessions acknowledging participation in the events of the rebellion (in exchange for amnesty); several hundred participants were eventually indicted on charges relating to the rebellion. Most of these were pardoned under a general amnesty that only excluded a few ringleaders. Eighteen men, including Shays, were convicted and sentenced to death. Most of these were either overturned on appeal, pardoned, or had their sentences commuted. Two of the condemned men, John Bly and Charles Rose, were hanged on December 6, 1787. Shays was pardoned in 1788 and he returned to Massachusetts from hiding in the Vermont woods. He was, however, vilified by the Boston press, who painted him as an archetypal anarchist opposed to the government. Shays was later granted a pension by the federal government for the five years he served in the Continental Army without pay. Shays lived the last few years of his life in poverty, a heavy drinker. He supported himself on his pension, and by working a small parcel of land. Shays died at age 78 in Sparta, New York.
The Green Corn Rebellion was an armed uprising that took place in rural Oklahoma on August 2 and 3, 1917. The uprising was a reaction by radicalized European-Americans, tenant farmers, Seminoles, Muscogee Creeks and African-Americans to an attempt to enforce the Selective Draft Act of 1917 and was so-called due to the purported plans of the rebels to march across the country, eating "green corn" on the way for sustenance. Betrayed by an informer in their midst, the country rebels met with a well-armed posse of townsmen, with whom shots were exchanged and three people killed. In the aftermath of the incident, scores of arrests were made and the Socialist Party of America, formerly strong in the region was decimated in the public eye for allegedly having attempted to foment revolution. The incident was also used as a pretext for national reprisals against the Industrial Workers of the World. On April 6, 1917, President Woodrow Wilson, recently sworn into a second term of office for which he had run behind the slogan "He Kept Us Out of War," appeared between a joint session of Congress to ask for a declaration of war against Imperial Germany. Congress readily obliged the President's request, voting to declare war on Germany by a margin of 373-50 in the House and 82-6 in the Senate. This decision of the United States government to enter World War I was backed up with additional legislation imposing military conscription in America to staff the nation's wartime Army and Navy. On May 18, 1917, a draft bill became law. The bill called for all eligible young men nationwide to register for the draft on a single day — June 5, 1917. While isolated hotspots of anti-conscription activity sprung up in some urban centers, the registration process was generally an orderly affair, with the vast majority of young American men accepting their fate with what has been characterized as "a calm resignation." On July 20, 1917, a blindfolded Newton D. Baker, the Wilson administration's Secretary of War, drew numbers choosing certain registered young men for mandatory military service. Opponents of American participation in the war continued their efforts to change the country's course, holding meetings and distributing pamphlets. Among the leading organized forces in opposition to conscription and the war was the Socialist Party of America, which at its April 1917 National Convention had declared its "unalterable opposition" to the war and urged the workers of the world to "refuse support to the governments in their wars." Although it was a young state, admitted into the union only in November 1907, there was already a strong radical tradition in Oklahoma, in which the impoverished tenant farmers of the southeastern part of the state seized upon the millenarian fervor of the early Socialist Party in an attempt to improve their lives. In the 1916 election, despite Woodrow Wilson's siphoning off a portion of the anti-war vote for the Democratic ticket, the Socialist Party garnered more than a quarter of the votes cast in the 1916 election in Seminole County and 22% in neighboring Pontotoc County. Nor was the Socialist Party the only active organizers in the area — in 1916 a radical tenant farmers' organization called the "Working Class Union (WCU)" claimed a membership of as much as 20,000 in Eastern Oklahoma alone. The group's ideology blended what one historian has called "a muddled industrial unionism with traditional southern forms of countervigilantism, self-defense, and opposition to conscription" and arose as a complement to the radical syndicalism of the Industrial Workers of the World — an organization which did not seek to organize tenant farmers. Tenant farmers were predominantly young — the age group most impacted by conscription. Some 76% of Oklahoma farmers under age 24 rented their land, while 45% of those between the ages of 25 and 33 found themselves tenants. Most tenant farmers were white and African-American. Many of these young "dirt farmers" found their economic prospects hopeless, squeezed between a usurious credit system practiced by stores and substantial crop liens inflicted by landlords. The depleted condition of Oklahoma's land forced the input of twice as much labor as the share-croppers of Mississippi and Louisiana to generate comparable yields. Disaffection was rife and proposals for radical solutions found ready ears. Despite the WCU's highly questionable membership claims, ballooning to 35,000 for the whole state of Oklahoma, the group had by 1917 clearly established a solid foothold among the tenant farmers of Oklahoma. The organization was not a tame one, taking the form of secret society, with activities which included night riding and the use of physical violence against its opponents. Hostilities between the radical rural supporters of the WCU and the conservative forces of the towns of the region ran high, with dynamite used against cattle dipping-vats late in 1915 in protest of a mandatory use of costly insecticide that some felt was as lethal to dipped cattle as to the ticks and other parasites they carried. The controversy was punctuated by a shotgun blast fired through the window of the Pontotoc County Attorney early in 1916. Conservative voices declared the action to be an act of political terrorism, while radicals charged the shot to be a provocation, "part of a concocted plan on the part of the officials and two or three newspapers to wreck the Socialist Party by pulling off a fake attempted assassination." Town dwellers, who had been subject to perennial attacks as "robbers, thieves, and grafters" by radical public speakers, were thoroughly convinced that the Socialists and the secret WCU were part of a single radical conspiracy to launch a long-desired revolution in their own locale. The Muscogee Creek Nation at time of the rebellion was controlled by only 61 mixed blood Creek and intermarried white individuals. August 3rd marked the end of the Muscogee Creek Green Corn Ceremony. In early August 1917, preceding the rebellion, large numbers of African-American, European-American, and Native American men gathered at the farm of John Spears in Sasakwa to plan a march upon Washington, DC to end the war. The so-called Green Corn Rebellion may be said to have started on Thursday, August 2, 1917, when a Seminole County sheriff and his deputy were ambushed near the Little River, a tributary of the Canadian river. Raiding parties followed this action, cutting telephone lines and burning railroad bridges. On Friday, August 3, exactly two weeks after the draft lottery in Washington, D.C., an armed gathering assembled near the adjoining borders of Pontotoc, Seminole, and Hughes counties in Southeastern Oklahoma. The uprising seems to have been spurred by the agitation of the Working Class Union, which was reported in one newspaper as having called its supporters to arms with a manifesto which declared: "Now is the time to rebel against this war with Germany, boys. Boys, get together and don't go. Rich man's war. Poor man's fight. The war is over with Germany if you don't go and J.P. Morgan & Co. is lost. Their great speculation is the only cause of the war." Unfortunately, no documents written by WCU members have survived and the mentality of those taking up arms must be considered speculative. Still, historians do speculate. Historian Garin Burbank argues that the coming of conscription threatened to decimate family economies by removing able-bodied young men needed to harvest cotton. Moreover, Burbank argues, Socialist ideas had found its mark in Oklahoma, with many poor farmers earnestly believing from their experiences in daily life in the reality of "exploitation" and accepting the notion that the European war was little more than capitalist business enterprise writ large. The country folk, in short, saw military conscription as an invasion of their rights, and they rebelled in an attempt to keep the government from taking away their sons. Arming themselves, an estimated 800 to 1000 rebels, "the vast majority of old American stock," met on the banks of the South Canadian River and made plans to head East, living off the land as they marched. They would eat roasted "green corn" and barbecued beef on the way, so it was later said, eventually joining up with countless thousands of likeminded comrades who would together march on Washington, DC where they would overthrow "Big Slick" Woodrow Wilson, repeal the draft act, and end the war. These plans, if such a whimsical scheme may be called such, were instantly betrayed to local authorities by an informer. A posse of townsmen was formed and headed to the river banks to meet the ostensible revolutionaries. The so-called rebellion proved anti-climactic, as historian Garin Burbank notes: "Catching sight of the advancing townsmen, the country people fired a few desultory shots and fled in disorder. This was the pathetic end of their overt resistance to the incursions of outside political authority." The incident was over within a few hours and mass arrests of participants were begun. A total of three people were killed in the Green Corn Rebellion of August 1917, one of whom was Clifford Clark, an African American tenant farmer. Nearly 450 people were detained in connection with the incident, of whom 266 were released without charges being filed. Charges were levied against 184 participants, of whom about 150 were convicted or pled guilty, receiving jail and prison terms ranging from 60 days to ten years. Those identified as leaders of the uprising received the heaviest sentences. While most were paroled or pardoned after a short period, five men remained in the Federal prison in Leavenworth, Kansas, in February 1922. The so-called "rebellion" was used as a cudgel against the Socialist Party of Oklahoma, with the party being blamed for the incident despite its largely spontaneous and external origins. This was one in a series of events that undermined the American socialist movement and fueled the Red Scare. The Industrial Workers of the World shared the brunt of popular indignation, despite the fact that the organization took no part in the Green Corn Rebellion and was related to the WCU only by virtue of the latter group having formed in response to the IWW's refusal to organize tenant farmers. The IWW was still blamed for every action of the WCU, however, and the bogey Green Corn Rebellion was ultimately used as a justification for further measures against the IWW nationally. An elderly Seminole-Muscogee Creek woman relayed to Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz that her uncle had been imprisoned after the rebellion. She is quoted, "The full moon of late July, early August it was, the Moon of the Green Corn. It was not easy to persuade our poor white and black brothers and sisters to rise up. We told them that rising up, standing up, whatever the consequences, would inspire future generations. Our courage, our bravery would be remembered and copied. That has been the Indian way for centuries, since the invasions. Fight and tell the story so that those who come after or their descendants will rise up once again. It may take a thousand years, but that is how we continue and eventually prevail." A fictionalized account of the abortive revolt can be found in William Cunningham’s novel, The Green Corn Rebellion, published by Vanguard Press in 1935. The novel was republished by University of Oklahoma Press in 2010. Sam Marcy, founder of Workers World Party upheld the Green Corn Rebellion as the ideal working class, anti-war struggle in his book "The Bolsheviks and War" published in 1985.
The Whiskey Rebellion, or Whiskey Insurrection, was a tax protest in the United States beginning in 1791, during the presidency of George Washington. Farmers who used their leftover grain and corn in the form of whiskey as a medium of exchange were forced to pay a new tax. The tax was a part of treasury secretary Alexander Hamilton's program to increase central government power, in particular to fund his policy of assuming the war debt of those states which had failed to pay. The farmers who resisted, many war veterans, contended that they were fighting for the principles of the American Revolution, in particular against taxation without local representation, while the Federal government maintained the taxes were the legal expression of the taxation powers of Congress. Throughout counties in Western Pennsylvania, protesters used violence and intimidation to prevent federal officials from collecting the tax. Resistance came to a climax in July 1794, when a U.S. marshal arrived in western Pennsylvania to serve writs to distillers who had not paid the excise. The alarm was raised, and more than 500 armed men attacked the fortified home of tax inspector General John Neville. Washington responded by sending peace commissioners to western Pennsylvania to negotiate with the rebels, while at the same time calling on governors to send a militia force to enforce the tax. With 13,000 militia provided by the governors of Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, Washington rode at the head of an army to suppress the insurgency. The rebels all went home before the arrival of the army, and there was no confrontation. About 20 men were arrested, but all were later acquitted or pardoned. The Whiskey Rebellion demonstrated that the new national government had the willingness and ability to suppress violent resistance to its laws. The whiskey excise remained difficult to collect, however. The events contributed to the formation of political parties in the United States, a process already underway. The whiskey tax was repealed after Thomas Jefferson's Republican Party, which opposed Hamilton's Federalist Party, came to power in 1801. A new U.S. federal government began operating in 1789, following the ratification of the United States Constitution. The previous government under the Articles of Confederation had been unable to levy taxes; it had borrowed money to meet expenses, accumulating $54 million in debt. The states had amassed an additional $25 million in debt. Alexander Hamilton, the first Secretary of the Treasury, sought to use this debt to create a financial system that would promote American prosperity and national unity. In his Report on Public Credit, he urged Congress to consolidate the state and national debts into a single debt that would be funded by the federal government. Congress approved these measures in June and July 1790. A source of government revenue was needed to pay the respectable amount due of the previous bond holders to whom the debt was owed. By December 1790, Hamilton believed import duties, which were the government's primary source of revenue, had been raised as high as was feasible. He therefore promoted passage of an excise tax on domestically produced distilled spirits. This was to be the first tax levied by the national government on a domestic product. Although taxes were politically unpopular, Hamilton believed that the whiskey excise was a luxury tax that would be the least objectionable tax the government could levy. In this, he had the support of some social reformers, who hoped a "sin tax" would raise public awareness about the harmful effects of alcohol. The whiskey excise act, sometimes known as the "Whiskey Act", became law in March 1791. George Washington defined the revenue districts, appointed the revenue supervisors and inspectors, and set their pay in November 1791. The whiskey excise was immediately controversial, with many people on the frontier arguing the tax unfairly targeted westerners. Whiskey was a popular drink, and farmers often supplemented their incomes by operating small stills. Farmers living west of the Appalachian Mountains distilled their excess grain into whiskey, which was easier and more profitable to transport over the mountains than the more cumbersome grain. A whiskey tax would make western farmers less competitive with eastern grain producers. Additionally, cash was always in short supply on the frontier, so whiskey often served as a medium of exchange. For poorer people who were paid in whiskey, the excise was essentially an income tax that wealthier easterners did not pay. The main objection to the whiskey tax was that it was taxation without (local) representation, exactly what they'd just fought the Revolutionary War to stop. Many tax resisters were veterans. In the Western view, they were fighting for freedom, resisting the newly emerging central state. Furthermore, why should they pay other people's debts? Some states had repaid their war debt. The Federalists were buying support from indebted states with their policy of assumption. Small farmers also protested that Hamilton's excise effectively gave unfair tax breaks to large distillers, most of whom were based in the east. There were two methods of paying the whiskey excise: paying a flat fee or paying by the gallon. Large distillers produced whiskey in volume and could afford the flat fee. The more efficient they became, the less tax per gallon they would pay (as low as 6 cents according to Hamilton). Western farmers who owned small stills did not usually operate them year-round at full capacity, so they ended up paying a higher tax per gallon (9 cents), which made them less competitive. Small distillers believed Hamilton deliberately designed the tax to ruin them and promote big business, a view endorsed by some historians. However, historian Thomas Slaughter argued that a "conspiracy of this sort is difficult to document". Whether by design or not, large distillers recognized the advantage the excise gave them, and they supported the tax. In addition to the whiskey tax, westerners had a number of other grievances with the national government. Chief among these was the perception that the government was not adequately protecting the western frontier: the Northwest Indian War was going badly for the United States, with major losses in 1791. Furthermore, westerners were prohibited by Spain (which then owned Louisiana) from using the Mississippi River for commercial navigation. Until these issues were addressed, westerners felt the government was ignoring their security and economic welfare. Adding the whiskey excise to these existing grievances only increased tensions on the frontier. Many residents of the western frontier petitioned against passage of the whiskey excise. When that failed, some western Pennsylvanians organized extralegal conventions to advocate repeal of the law. Opposition to the tax was particularly prevalent in four southwestern counties: Allegheny, Fayette, Washington, and Westmoreland. A preliminary meeting held on July 27, 1791, at Redstone Old Fort in Fayette County, called for the selection of delegates to a more formal assembly, which convened in Pittsburgh in early September 1791. The Pittsburgh convention was dominated by moderates such as Hugh Henry Brackenridge, who hoped to prevent the outbreak of violence. The convention sent a petition for redress of grievances to the Pennsylvania Assembly and the U.S House of Representatives, both located in Philadelphia. As a result of this and other petitions, the excise law was modified in May 1792. Changes included a 1-cent reduction in the tax that was advocated by William Findley, a congressman from western Pennsylvania, but the new excise law was still unsatisfactory to many westerners. Appeals to nonviolent resistance were unsuccessful. On September 11, 1791, a recently appointed tax collector named Robert Johnson was tarred and feathered by a disguised gang in Washington County. A man sent by officials to serve court warrants to Johnson's attackers was whipped, tarred, and feathered. Because of these and other violent attacks, the tax went uncollected in 1791 and early 1792. The attackers modeled their actions on the protests of the American Revolution. Supporters of the excise argued there was a difference between taxation without representation in colonial America, and a tax laid by the elected representatives of the American people. Although older accounts of the Whiskey Rebellion portrayed it as being confined to western Pennsylvania, there was opposition to the whiskey tax in the western counties of every other state in Appalachia (Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia). The whiskey tax went uncollected throughout the frontier state of Kentucky, where no one could be convinced to enforce the law or prosecute evaders. In 1792, Hamilton advocated military action to suppress violent resistance in western North Carolina, but Attorney General Edmund Randolph argued there was insufficient evidence to legally justify such a reaction. In August 1792, a second convention was held in Pittsburgh to discuss resistance to the whiskey tax. This meeting was more radical than the first convention; moderates such as Brackenridge and Findley were not in attendance. One moderate who did attend—to his later regret—was Albert Gallatin, a future secretary of the treasury. A militant group known as the Mingo Creek Association dominated the convention and issued radical demands. As some of them had done in the American Revolution, they raised liberty poles, formed committees of correspondence, and took control of the local militia. They created an extralegal court and discouraged lawsuits for debt collection and foreclosures. Hamilton regarded the second Pittsburgh convention as a serious threat to the operation of the laws of the federal government. In September 1792, he sent Pennsylvania tax official George Clymer to western Pennsylvania to investigate. Clymer's clumsy attempt at traveling in disguise, and his efforts to intimidate local officials, only increased tensions. His somewhat exaggerated report would greatly influence the decisions made by the Washington administration. Washington and Hamilton viewed resistance to federal laws in Pennsylvania as particularly embarrassing, since the national capital was then located in the same state. On his own initiative, Hamilton drafted a presidential proclamation denouncing resistance to the excise laws and submitted it to Attorney General Randolph, who toned down some of the language. Washington signed the proclamation on September 15, 1792. It was published as a broadside and printed in many newspapers. The federal tax inspector for western Pennsylvania, General John Neville, was determined to enforce the excise law. Neville, a prominent politician and wealthy planter, was also a large-scale distiller. He had initially opposed the whiskey tax, but subsequently changed his mind, a reversal that angered some western Pennsylvanians. In August 1792, Neville rented a room in Pittsburgh for his tax office, but the landlord turned him out after being threatened with violence by the Mingo Creek Association. From this point on, tax collectors were not the only people targeted in Pennsylvania: those who cooperated with federal tax officials also faced harassment. Anonymous notes and newspaper articles signed by "Tom the Tinker" threatened those who complied with the whiskey tax. Those who failed to heed the warnings might have their barns burned or their stills destroyed. Resistance to the excise tax continued through 1793 in the frontier counties of Appalachia. Opposition remained especially strident in western Pennsylvania. In June, Neville was burned in effigy by a crowd of about 100 people in Washington County. On the night of November 22, 1793, men broke into the home of tax collector Benjamin Wells in Fayette County. Wells was, like Neville, one of the wealthier men in the region. At gunpoint, the intruders forced Wells to surrender his commission. President Washington offered a reward for the arrest of the assailants, to no avail. The resistance came to a climax in 1794. In May of that year, federal district attorney William Rawle issued subpoenas for more than 60 distillers in Pennsylvania who had not paid the excise tax. Under the law then in effect, distillers who received these writs would be obligated to travel to Philadelphia to appear in federal court. For farmers on the western frontier, such a journey was expensive, time-consuming, and beyond their means. At the urging of William Findley, Congress modified this law on June 5, 1794, allowing excise trials to be held in local state courts. But by that time, U.S. marshal David Lenox had already been sent to serve the writs summoning delinquent distillers to Philadelphia. Attorney General William Bradford later maintained that the writs were meant to compel compliance with the law, and that the government did not actually intend to hold trials in Philadelphia. The timing of these events would later prove to be controversial. In his book on the insurrection, Findley—a bitter political foe of Hamilton—maintained that the treasury secretary had deliberately provoked the uprising by issuing the subpoenas just before the law was made less onerous. In 1963, historian Jacob Cooke, an editor of Hamilton's papers, regarded this charge as "preposterous", calling it a "conspiracy thesis" that overstated Hamilton's control of the federal government. In 1986, historian Thomas Slaughter argued that the outbreak of the insurrection at this moment was due to "a string of ironic coincidences", although "the question about motives must always remain". In 2006, William Hogeland argues Hamilton, Bradford, and Rawle intentionally pursued a course of action that would provoke "the kind of violence that would justify federal military suppression". According to Hogeland, Hamilton had been working towards this moment since the Newburgh Crisis in 1783, where he conceived of using military force to crush popular resistance to direct taxation, for the purpose of promoting national unity and enriching the creditor class at the expense of common taxpayers. The historian S. E. Morison believed Hamilton, in general, wished to enforce the excise law "more as a measure of social discipline than as a source of revenue..." Federal Marshal Lenox delivered most of the writs without incident. On July 15, he was joined on his rounds by General Neville, who had offered to act as his guide in Allegheny County. That evening, warning shots were fired at the men at the Miller farm, about 10 mi (16 km) south of Pittsburgh. Neville returned home, while Lenox retreated to Pittsburgh. On July 16, at least 30 Mingo Creek militiamen surrounded Neville's fortified home, Bower Hill. They demanded the surrender of the federal marshal, whom they believed to be inside. Neville responded by firing a gunshot that mortally wounded Oliver Miller, one of the "rebels". The rebels opened fire, but were unable to dislodge Neville. The rebels retreated to nearby Couch's Fort to gather reinforcements. The next day, July 17, the rebels returned to Bower Hill. Their force had swelled to nearly 600 men, now commanded by Major James McFarlane, a veteran of the Revolutionary War. Neville had also received reinforcements: ten U.S. Army soldiers from Pittsburgh under the command of Major Abraham Kirkpatrick, a brother-in-law of Neville's wife. Before the rebel force arrived, Kirkpatrick had Neville leave the house and hide in a nearby ravine. David Lenox and General Neville's son, Presley Neville, also returned to the area, though they could not get into the house and were captured by the rebels. Following some fruitless negotiations, the women and children were allowed to leave the house, and then both sides began firing. After about an hour, McFarlane called a cease fire; according to some, a white flag had been waved in the house. As McFarlane stepped into the open, a shot rang out from the house, and he fell, mortally wounded. The enraged rebels then set fire to the house, and Kirkpatrick surrendered. The number of casualties at Bower Hill is unclear; McFarlane and one or two other militiamen were killed; one U.S. soldier may have died from wounds received in the fight. The rebels sent the U.S. soldiers away. Kirkpatrick, Lenox, and Presley Neville were kept as prisoners, but they later escaped. McFarlane was given a hero's funeral on July 18. His "murder", as the rebels saw it, further radicalized the countryside. Moderates such as Brackenridge were hard-pressed to restrain the populace. Radical leaders such as David Bradford emerged, urging violent resistance. On July 26, a group headed by Bradford robbed the U.S. mail as it left Pittsburgh, hoping to discover who in that town opposed them. Finding several letters that condemned the rebels, Bradford and his band called for a military assembly to meet at Braddock's Field, about 8 mi (13 km) east of Pittsburgh. On August 1, about 7,000 people gathered at Braddock's Field. This would prove to be the largest gathering of protesters. The crowd consisted primarily of poor people who owned no land. Most did not own whiskey stills. The furor over the whiskey excise had unleashed anger about other economic grievances. By this time, the victims of violence were often wealthy property owners who had no connection to the whiskey tax. Some of the most radical protesters wanted to march on Pittsburgh, which they called "Sodom", loot the homes of the wealthy, and then burn the town to the ground. Others wanted to attack Fort Fayette. There was praise for the French Revolution, and of bringing the guillotine to America. David Bradford, it was said, was comparing himself to Robespierre, a leader of the French Reign of Terror. At Braddock's Field, there was talk of declaring independence from the United States, and of joining with Spain or Great Britain. Radicals flew a specially designed flag that proclaimed their independence. The flag had six stripes, one for each county represented at the gathering: five Pennsylvania counties (Allegheny, Bedford, Fayette, Washington, and Westmoreland) and one Virginia county (Ohio County). Pittsburgh citizens helped defuse the threat by banishing three men whose intercepted letters had given offense to the rebels, and by sending a delegation to Braddock's Field that expressed support for the gathering. Brackenridge prevailed upon the crowd to limit the protest to a defiant march through the town. In Pittsburgh, only the barns of Major Kirkpatrick were torched. On August 14, a convention of delegates from the six counties was held at Parkison's Ferry, present-day Monongahela. The convention adopted resolutions, which were drafted by Brackenridge, Gallatin, David Bradford, and an eccentric preacher named Herman Husband, a delegate from Bedford County. Husband, a well-known local figure, was a radical champion of democracy who had taken part in the Regulator movement in North Carolina 25 years earlier. The Parkison's Ferry convention also appointed a committee to meet with the peace commissioners who had been sent west by President Washington. President Washington, confronted with what appeared to be an armed insurrection in western Pennsylvania, proceeded cautiously. Although determined to maintain government authority, he did not want to alienate public opinion. He asked his cabinet for written opinions about how to deal with the crisis. The cabinet recommended the use of force, except for Secretary of State Edmund Randolph, who urged reconciliation. Washington did both: he sent commissioners to meet with the rebels while raising a militia army. Washington privately doubted the commissioners could accomplish anything, and believed a military expedition would be needed to suppress further violence. For this reason, historians have sometimes charged that the peace commission was sent only for the sake of appearances, and that the use of force was never in doubt. Historians Stanley Elkins and Eric McKitrick argued that the military expedition was "itself a part of the reconciliation process", since a show of overwhelming force would make further violence less likely. Meanwhile, Hamilton began publishing essays under the name of "Tully" in Philadelphia newspapers, denouncing mob violence in western Pennsylvania and advocating military action. Washington and Hamilton believed the Democratic-Republican Societies, which had been formed throughout the country, were the source of civic unrest. "Historians are not yet agreed on the exact role of the societies" in the Whiskey Rebellion, wrote historian Mark Spencer in 2003, "but there was a degree of overlap between society membership and the Whiskey Rebels". Before troops could be raised, the Militia Act of 1792 required a justice of the United States Supreme Court to certify that law enforcement was beyond the control of local authorities. On August 4, 1794, Justice James Wilson delivered his opinion that western Pennsylvania was in a state of rebellion. On August 7, Washington issued a presidential proclamation announcing, with "the deepest regret", that the militia would be called out to suppress the rebellion. He commanded insurgents in western Pennsylvania to disperse by September 1. In early August 1794, Washington dispatched three commissioners, all of them Pennsylvanians, to the west: Attorney General William Bradford, Justice Jasper Yeates of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, and Senator James Ross. Beginning on August 21, the commissioners met with a committee of westerners that included Brackenridge and Gallatin. The government commissioners told the committee that it must unanimously agree to renounce violence and submit to U.S. laws, and that a popular referendum must be held to determine if the local people supported the decision. Those who agreed to these terms would be given amnesty from further prosecution. The committee, divided between radicals and moderates, narrowly passed a resolution agreeing to submit to the government's terms. The popular referendum, which was held on September 11, also produced mixed results. Some townships overwhelmingly supported submitting to U.S. law, but opposition to the government remained strong in areas where poor and landless people predominated. The final report of the commissioners recommended the use of the military to enforce the laws. The trend was towards submission, however, and westerners dispatched two representatives, William Findley and David Redick, to meet with Washington and to halt the progress of the oncoming army. Washington and Hamilton declined, arguing that violence would likely reemerge if the army turned back. Militia was called up from New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia, and eastern Pennsylvania. The federalized militia force of 12,950 men was a large army by American standards of the time: the army that had been with Washington during the Revolutionary War had often been smaller. Because relatively few men volunteered for militia service, a draft was used to fill out the ranks. Draft evasion was widespread, and conscription efforts resulted in protests and riots, even in eastern areas. Three counties in eastern Virginia were the scenes of armed draft resistance. In Maryland, Governor Thomas Sim Lee sent 800 men to quash an antidraft riot in Hagerstown; about 150 people were arrested. Liberty poles were raised in various places as the militia was recruited, worrying federal officials. A liberty pole was raised in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, on September 11, 1794. When the federalized militia arrived in that town later that month, suspected pole-raisers were rounded up. Two civilians were killed in these operations. On September 29, an unarmed boy was shot by an officer whose pistol accidentally fired. Two days later, a man was stabbed to death by a soldier while resisting arrest. President Washington ordered the arrest of the two soldiers and had them turned over to civilian authorities. A state judge determined the deaths had been accidental, and the soldiers were released. In October, 1794, Washington traveled west to review the progress of the military expedition. According to historian Joseph Ellis, this would be "the first and only time a sitting American president led troops in the field". Jonathan Forman, who led the Third Infantry Regiment of New Jersey troops against the Whiskey Rebellion, wrote about his encounter with Washington: "October 3d Marched early in the morning for Harrisburgh, where we arrived about 12 O'clock. About 1 O'Clock recd. information of the Presidents approach on which, I had the regiment paraded, timely for his reception, & considerably to my satisfaction. Being afterwards invited to his quarters he made enquiry into the circumstances of the man [an incident between a militia man and an old soldier mentioned earlier in the journal] & seemed satisfied with the information." Washington met with the western representatives in Bedford, Pennsylvania, on October 9 before going to Fort Cumberland in Maryland to review the southern wing of the army. Convinced the federalized militia would meet little resistance, he placed the army under the command of the governor of Virginia, Henry "Lighthorse Harry" Lee, a hero of the Revolutionary War. Washington returned to Philadelphia; Hamilton remained with the army as civilian adviser. The insurrection collapsed as the army marched into western Pennsylvania in October 1794. Some of the most prominent leaders of the insurrection, like David Bradford, fled westward to safety. After an investigation, federal government officials arrested about 20 people and brought them back to Philadelphia for trial. Eventually, a federal grand jury indicted 24 men for high treason. Most of the accused had eluded capture, so only ten men stood trial for treason in federal court. Of these, only Philip Vigol (later changed to Wigal) and John Mitchell were convicted. Vigol had beaten up a tax collector and burned his house; Mitchell was a simpleton who had been convinced by David Bradford to rob the U.S. mail. Both men were sentenced to death by hanging, but they were pardoned by President Washington. Pennsylvania state courts were more successful in prosecuting lawbreakers, securing numerous convictions for assault and rioting. The Washington administration's suppression of the Whiskey Rebellion met with widespread popular approval. The episode demonstrated the new national government had the willingness and ability to suppress violent resistance to its laws. It was therefore viewed by the Washington administration as a success, a view that has generally been endorsed by historians. The Washington administration and its supporters usually did not mention, however, that the whiskey excise remained difficult to collect, and that many westerners continued to refuse to pay the tax. The events contributed to the formation of political parties in the United States, a process already underway. The whiskey tax was repealed after Thomas Jefferson's Republican Party, which opposed the Federalist Party of Hamilton and Washington, came to power in 1800. The Rebellion raised the question of what kinds of protests were permissible under the new Constitution. Legal historian Christian G. Fritz argued, even after ratification of the Constitution, there was not yet a consensus about sovereignty in the United States. Federalists believed the government was sovereign because it had been established by the people, so radical protest actions, which were permissible during the American Revolution, were no longer legitimate. But the Whiskey Rebels and their defenders believed the Revolution had established the people as a "collective sovereign", and the people had the collective right to change or challenge the government through extraconstitutional means. Historian Steven Boyd argued that the suppression of the Whiskey Rebellion prompted anti-Federalist westerners to finally accept the Constitution, and to seek change by voting for Republicans rather than resisting the government. Federalists, for their part, came to accept that the people could play a greater role in governance. Although Federalists would attempt to restrict speech critical of the government with the Alien and Sedition Acts in 1798, after the Whiskey Rebellion, says Boyd, Federalists no longer challenged the freedom of assembly and the right to petition. Soon after the Whiskey Rebellion, actress-playwright Susanna Rowson wrote a stage musical about the insurrection entitled "The Volunteers", with music by composer Alexander Reinagle. The play is now lost, but the songs survive, and suggest that Rowson's interpretation was pro-Federalist. The musical celebrated the militiamen who put down the rebellion, the "volunteers" of the title, as American heroes. President Washington and Martha Washington attended a performance of the play in Philadelphia in January 1795. In L. Neil Smith's alternate history novel The Probability Broach (1980), Albert Gallatin convinces the militia not to put down the rebellion, but instead to march on the nation's capital, execute George Washington for treason, and replace the Constitution with a revised Articles of Confederation. As a result, the United States becomes a libertarian utopia called the North American Confederacy. In the satirical novel Joyleg, A Folly by Avram Davidson and Ward Moore, a veteran of both the American Revolutionary War and the Whiskey Rebellion is found alive and very well in the Tennessee backwoods, having survived over the centuries by daily soaks in whisky of his own making, to hilariously face the world of the 1960s. In 2012, Wigle Whiskey, the first distillery in Pittsburgh since Prohibition, was founded. It was named after Philip Wigle. From 1971 to 1993, the Hall of Presidents at Walt Disney World in Florida included a section on the Whiskey Rebellion.
Job Shattuck (February 11, 1736 – January 13, 1819) was a British colonial soldier during the Seven Years' War and a member of the Massachusetts state militia during the American Revolutionary War. He first served with the British in the 1755 Battle of Fort Beauséjour. He was later active at the Siege of Boston in 1776 and then in preparing defenses at Mt. Independence and Ft. Ticonderoga later that year. Following the cessation of the American Revolution Shattuck returned to Massachusetts where he was the largest landowner in the town of Groton. He was a key figure in the nation-defining 1786-87 farmer's revolt known as Shays' Rebellion, leading forces in direct action that shut down a state court in Concord. He was arrested in late 1786 on charges of treason, but was pardoned in 1787 by Governor John Hancock. Shattuck was born in the rural central Massachusetts town of Groton in 1736, not long after the final Indian raids and skirmishes that had so often embattled the town during its early colonial period. His family occupied a large tract of land in the northwest corner of town, much of the acreage fronting the banks of the Nashua River. He would eventually become, through ultimogeniture, and his own purchases, the largest landowner in Groton with an estate of approximately 500 acres. At 19 Shattuck joined the provincial militia as a private in Captain Ephraim Jones' company and took part in the campaign involving the removal of thousands of French settlers in Nova Scotia in 1755. Two decades would pass before he again donned a uniform, this time eschewing the royal red coat of the British private for the homespun utilitarian attire of the colonial militiaman. He responded to the Lexington Alarm, arriving too late to participate, continued on to Cambridge for several days and then returned to Groton where he served on a town committee to assist the Boston poor that had evacuated that city upon the British return. He was part of a company of men that went to Boston in the fall of 1775 for a six-week period to provide necessary backup as Washington put the Continental Army into place. He returned to Groton, but then went back to Boston to participate in the siege. That summer of 1776 he led Groton men to Mt. Independence and Ft. Ticonderoga as part of the northern defense, returning to Groton in December 1776. He was promoted to the rank of captain by the provincial congress in 1776 and was also elected town selectman of Groton on three occasions during the war. In October 1781, while serving as town selectman,Shattuck was one of eighteen men obstructing the tax collecting efforts of two constables on three separate occasions, a series of events called the "Groton Riots." Crippled by debt in the aftermath of the revolution, the state of Massachusetts levied upon its towns and citizens tax burdens higher than had been in place during British rule. Those who suddenly found themselves in arrears to the state quickly discovered that their land, livelihood and possibly even their freedom were at stake. Many who could not assuage their debts faced the unpleasant prospect of serving time in a debtors' prison. The high tax burden, combined with the demand that it be paid in specie and the high-handed control of the government by merchant interests, transformed rural resentment into a full-blown agrarian revolt. The rebellion was waged primarily by debt-ridden western farmers and landowners who banded together and captured shire town courthouses in Massachusetts, closing them to all proceedings. Violence was threatened and enacted against many officials who would not stand down. On a national scale, the rebellion was viewed with intense interest by citizens and public officials of all of the confederated former colonies because it "tested the precarious institutions of the new republic." To officials in Boston, Job Shattuck became, perhaps even more than Daniel Shays, the leader of the agrarians in the western part of the state, a leading firebrand and empathetic advocate of the soldier–farmer who had risked life, limb and land for the cause of the revolution only to return from the war to find injustice and foreclosure still looming. On a rainy September day in 1786, Shattuck led a mob of roughly 200 men and forcibly closed session at the Middlesex County Courthouse in Concord. A similar raid upon the courthouse in Cambridge was planned by the Shaysites for November, however officials in Boston acted before this could occur by issuing a warrant for the immediate arrest of Shattuck and four other conspirators. Charged with treason and put on the state militia's most wanted list, on November 30, 1786 Shattuck was harried across the Groton countryside by over 100 men, slashed across the leg with a broadsword upon arrest, imprisoned, and convicted of treason the following May and promptly sentenced to hang. However, his prominence in the rebellion may have actually saved Shattuck from the gallows as John Hancock issued a pardon on his behalf.
It has been suggested that this article be moved to Fries' Rebellion. See Talk:Fries's Rebellion#Suggested move to Fries' Rebellion for discussion (proposed November 2012) John Fries's Rebellion, also called the House Tax Rebellion, the Home Tax Rebellion, and, in Deitsch the Heesses-Wasser Uffschtand, was an armed tax revolt among Pennsylvania Dutch farmers between 1799 and 1800. Fries's Rebellion was the third of three tax-related rebellions in the 18th century United States, the earlier two being Shays' Rebellion (central and western Massachusetts, 1786–87) and the Whiskey Rebellion (western Pennsylvania, 1794). When the Quasi-War with France threatened to escalate in 1798, Congress raised a large army and enlarged the navy. To pay for it, Congress in July 1798 imposed $2 million in new taxes on real estate and slaves, apportioned among the states according to the requirements of the Constitution. It was the first (and only) such federal tax. Congress had also recently passed the Alien and Sedition Acts, criminalizing dissent and increasing the power of the executive branch under John Adams. In July 1798, during the troubles between the United States and France now known as the Quasi-War, the US Congress levied a direct tax (on dwelling-houses, lands and slaves; sometimes called the Direct House Tax of 1798) of $2 million, of which Pennsylvania was called upon to contribute $237,000. There were very few slaves in Pennsylvania, and the tax was accordingly assessed upon dwelling-houses and land, the value of the houses being determined by the number and size of the windows. The inquisitorial nature of the proceedings, with assessors riding around and counting windows, aroused strong opposition, and many refused to pay, making the constitutional argument that this tax was not being levied in proportion to population. Pennsylvania auctioneer John Fries organized meetings, starting in February 1799, to discuss a collective response to the tax. As an itinerant auctioneer, Fries was well acquainted with the German-Americans issues in the southeastern part of Pennsylvania. Many advocated resistance in response to the tax. In Milford township, particularly, assessors were unsuccessful in completing their tax assessments due to intimidation. At a meeting called by government representatives in an attempt to explain the tax in a way as to defuse tensions, protesters waving liberty flags, some armed and in Continental Army uniforms, shouted them down and turned the meeting into a protest rally. The assessors at first determined to continue their work in Milford. Fries personally warned the assessors to quit their work, but they ignored the threat. He then led a small armed band that harassed the assessors enough that they decided to abandon Milford for the time being. In early March, a local militia company and a growing force of armed irregulars met, marching to the accompaniment of drum and fife. About a hundred set off for Quakertown in pursuit of the assessors, whom they intended to place under arrest. They captured a number of assessors there, releasing them with a warning not to return and to tell the government what had happened to them. Opposition to the tax spread to other parts of Pennsylvania. In Penn, the appointed assessor resigned under public threats; the assessors in Hamilton][ and Northampton also begged to resign, but were refused as nobody else could be found to take their places. Federal warrants were issued, and the U.S. Marshal began arresting people for tax resistance in Northampton. Arrests were made without much incident until the marshal reached Macungie, then known as Millerstown, where a crowd formed to protect a man from arrest. Failing to make that arrest, the marshal made a few others and returned to Bethlehem with his prisoners. Two separate groups of rebels independently vowed to liberate the prisoners, and marched on Bethlehem. The militia prevailed and Fries and other leaders were arrested. Thirty men went on trial in Federal court. Fries and two others were tried for treason and, with Federalists stirring up a frenzy, were sentenced to be hanged. President John Adams pardoned Fries and others convicted of treason. Adams was prompted by the narrower constitutional definition of treason, and he later added that the rebels were "as ignorant of our language as they were of our laws" and were being used by "great men" in the opposition party. He issued a general amnesty for everyone involved on May 21, 1800. Historians are agreed that the Federalists overreacted and mishandled a small episode. The long-term impact was that the German American communities rejected the Federalist Party.
Philip Roche (died 1798) was an Irish Roman Catholic priest and commander during the Irish Rebellion of 1798. He was a priest attached to the parish of Poulpearsay, County Wexford, and formerly of Gorey. He apparently to joined rebels encamped at the foot of Corrigrua Hill, under the command of Father John Murphy (1753?–1798), shortly before the battle of Tubberneering, on 4 June 1798. Information given to him helped the rebels to anticipate and frustrate the attack of Major-general Loftus and Colonel Walpole. His bravery at Tubberneering won him a reputation with the insurgents, and when Beauchamp Bagenal Harvey was three or four days later deposed from his command, Roche was elected commander of the rebels encamped at Slyeeve-Keelter, near New Ross. After unsuccessful attempts to intercept the navigation of the river, Roche moved his camp to Lacken Hill, where he remained for some time almost inactive. On 19 June he was surprised, and compelled to retreat from Lacken Hill to Three Rocks, near Wexford. On the following day he intercepted a detachment under Sir John Moore, who was moving up to join in the attack on Vinegar Hill, at a place called Goffsbridge, or Foulkes Mill, near the church of Horetown. His disposition of his forces was skilled, but after a fierce engagement, which lasted four hours, was compelled to fall back on Three Rocks, effecting a retreat in good order. After the battle of Vinegar Hill and the surrender of Wexford, Roche, seeing that further resistance was hopeless, decided to capitulate, and went alone and unarmed to Wexford. On entering the town he was seized, dragged from his horse, kicked and beaten. He was tried by court-martial, and hanged on Wexford bridge on 25 June 1798, along with Matthew Keogh and seven others, and his body thrown into the river.  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: 

The 2nd millennium was the thousand-year period that commenced on January 1, 1001 and ended on December 31, 2000. It encompassed the High Middle Ages, the Renaissance, the Early Modern Age, the age of colonialism, industrialization, the rise of nation states, and the 20th century with the impact of science, widespread education, and universal health care and vaccinations in many nations. The centuries of expanding large-scale warfare with high-tech weaponry (of the World Wars and nuclear bombs) were offset by growing peace movements from the United Nations, the Peace Corps, religious campaigns warning against violence, plus doctors and health workers crossing borders to treat injuries and disease and the return of the Olympics as contest without combat.

Scientists prevailed in explaining intellectual freedom; humans took their first steps on the Moon during the 20th century; and new technology was developed by governments, industry, and academia across the world, with education shared by many international conferences and journals. The development of movable type, radio, television, and the Internet spread information worldwide, within minutes, in audio, video, and print-image format to educate, entertain, and alert billions of people by the end of the 20th century.

In history, the early modern period of modern history follows the late Middle Ages of the post-classical era. Although the chronological limits of the period are open to debate, the timeframe spans the period after the late portion of the post-classical age (c. 1500), known as the Middle Ages, through the beginning of the Age of Revolutions (c. 1800) and is variously demarcated by historians as beginning with the Fall of Constantinople in 1453, with the Renaissance or the Age of Discovery and ending around the French Revolution in 1789. From a global standpoint, the most important feature of the early modern period was its globalizing character — it witnessed the exploration and colonization of the Americas and the rise of sustained contacts between previously isolated parts of the globe. The historical powers became involved in global trade. This world trading of goods, plants, animals, and food crops saw exchange in the Old World and the New World. The Columbian exchange greatly affected almost every society on Earth.

In the world, capitalist economies and institutions became more sophisticated and globally articulated. This process began in the medieval North Italian city-states, particularly Genoa, Venice, and Milan. The early modern period also saw the rise and beginning of the dominance of the economic theory of mercantilism. It also saw the European colonization during the 15th to 19th centuries, which spread Christianity around the world.

Shays' Rebellion was an armed uprising that took place in central and western Massachusetts in 1786 and 1787. The rebellion was named after Daniel Shays, a veteran of the American Revolutionary War and one of the rebel leaders.

The rebellion started on August 29, 1786. It was precipitated by several factors: financial difficulties brought about by a post-war economic depression, a credit squeeze caused by a lack of hard currency, and fiscally harsh government policies instituted in 1785 to solve the state's debt problems. Protesters, including many war veterans, shut down county courts in the later months of 1786 to stop the judicial hearings for tax and debt collection. The protesters became radicalized against the state government following the arrests of some of their leaders, and began to organize an armed force. A militia raised as a private army defeated a Shaysite (rebel) attempt to seize the federal Springfield Armory in late January 1787, killing four and wounding 20. The main Shaysite force was scattered on February 4, 1787, after a surprise attack on their camp in Petersham, Massachusetts. Scattered resistance continued until June 1787, with the single most significant action being an incident in Sheffield in late February, where 30 rebels were wounded (one mortally) in a skirmish with government troops.

Micah Sanders, portrayed by Noah Gray-Cabey, is a fictional character on the NBC science fiction drama series Heroes. He is the son of Niki Sanders and D.L. Hawkins. He is a child prodigy and a technopath.

Six months prior to the start of the series, Micah receives a new laptop computer from his grandfather, Hal, who is estranged from his family. When Hal notices Micah dismantling it, he loses his temper, but Niki first bids him leave their house, and then tracks him down as Jessica and beats him up, demanding that he stay away from her and Micah.

Modern history, also referred to as the modern period or the modern era, is the historiographical approach to the timeframe after the post-classical era (known as the Middle Ages). Modern history can be further broken down into the early modern period and the late modern period after the French Revolution and the Industrial Revolution. Contemporary history is the span of historic events that are immediately relevant to the present time. The modern era began approximately in the 16th century.

Some events, while not without precedent, show a new way of perceiving the world. The concept of modernity interprets the general meaning of these events and seeks explanations for major developments.

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