Sample donated: Mandy Clayton
Last updated: July 12, 2019
Thomas Jefferson oncesaid, “I hold it that a little rebellion now and then, is a good thing…” Daniel Shays believed that people should havea voice in the decision of the state. Rebellion was his only option. DanielShays is an eighteenth century rebel, who led a rebellion against taxes imposedby the state of Massachusetts. (https://www.khanacademy.org) Before Shays’ rebellion actually got itsstart, several local farmers came together in order to create a petition inhopes to lower the high tax they were forced to pay even though they couldbarely afford the land as it was. Unfortunately, the petition had been rejectedby the state.
At the time, John Hancock was the Governor of Massachusetts andhe refused to prosecute the debtors for their unpaid taxes. When Hancockresigned, James Bowdoin filled his spot as Governor. Bowdoin had a more handson approach to the taxes that went unpaid. The first thing he did was making lawofficials take the farmers that were unwilling to pay taxes into custody. Hethen enforced more taxes on them. (http://shaysrebellion.stcc.
edu) It was at this point that farmers startedtheir fight against the Massachusetts State Government due to the raised taxesand their government ignoring their peaceful requests. In the summer of 1786, therebellion began. They started with taking over the state arsenal, which is afacility where weapons are held by a mass of people. Although the attempt tooverthrow the arsenal was unsuccessful, Captain Day made a decision to notcross over the Connecticut River into Massachusetts leaving Shays with this mento take the arsenal over alone. The farmers did not stop there. They alsotormented many of the citizens that supported the government.
A group of about1,200 men marched to the arsenal at the state capital in attempts to over throwthe government and make their voices heard. They demanded that their voices be heard(http://shaysrebellion.stcc.edu). Shaysfound himself caught in the middle of a rebellion. He attempted to keep themeeting from becoming physical.
The government, instead of seeing his actionsas an attempt to keep the peace, viewed him as a leader of the rebellion. Shayssaw his chances for peacefully resolving the issue fading. Shays told manyofficials that he would help fight for their cause to be part of, but refusedto allow any amount bloodshed. He attempted to work with the Rule Regulators totry and resolve their issues peacefully.
Shays knew the farmers had no trainingor weapons, but he also knew that the state arsenal had more than plenty tohelp the farmers make their voices heard. This arsenal was also an adequateplace to keep them safe in case anything was to happen due to the amount ofbarracks inside (http://shaysrebellion.stcc.edu). Regrettably, the Massachusetts statemilitary was already in control of the arsenal. Unbeknownst to the rebels, aband of regulators, led by General Shepard, had been waiting.
Shepard had asuspicion that the rebels would try to overthrow the arsenal. Unfortunately forthe rebels, they had inadequate forces so they were unable to leave men thereovernight. Because of this, some men banded together to keep the arsenal frombeing overthrown (shaysrebellion.stcc.edu) Shaysmade the decision to take the risk and attempt to over throw the arsenal, butthat meant they would be trying to taking it by force. None of the men involvedwith this plan knew for sure if the soldiers on the inside would actually openfire on them.
Several rebels ended up giving up and going home. At this pointin time, Shays and the other commanders had no option but to surrender. Afterthis failed rebellion, Shays had no other option but to migrate around thecountry in an attempt to avoid the government so he could keep his life (http://shaysrebellion.stcc.edu). Daniel Shays, a rebel with a cause, believedthat the outrageously high taxes that were forced upon the local farmers ofMassachusetts were unlawful, so he stepped up and took action. Daniel Shaysmade the decision to lead a rebellion composed of untrained and unarmed farmersagainst their government.
Shays made this decision because he felt it was hisduty to help these people make their voices be heard loud and clear.