Join Now
International Automotive Technicians Network
Mind chum 7 For comparisons sake
Posted to Open Discussion Forum on 6/4/2016 51 Replies

I have been following this presidential campaign very closely. Listening a news show with the talking heads discussing the issues, a comparison was made to todays political climate with Shay's rebellion. Shay's What? OK you now have my attention. So I did some research. Here is what I found ,may you find this as interesting as I did. It is an eye opener.

Daniel Shay was a revolutionary war soldier, he fought for five long hard years,he was wounded in battle. He attained the rank of Captain and was finished fighting, or so he thought. He had fought alongside of the likes of the French general Marquis De Lafayette, and was presented an honorary battle sword by the general. The sword was Shay's prized possession.

After the end of his service all Shay wanted was to return to his hometown of Pelham ,Mass .and continue a life of farming .But it was not to be. After his retirement from service the monetary system was in a state of upheaval and was practically worthless. After fighting for five long hard years Shay was owed monies due to him for his military service.

But the state of Massachusetts the currency in use at that time was the British pound note. A new government needed money from taxes due on properties, and people. This was In the form of a head tax for males over 16 years of age. Now Daniel Shay's farm was in western Mass. And the way that the taxes were to be paid was either in silver or gold. These were in very short supply. And this was the only form of currency that was accepted by the state. Since most of the farming in that part of the state was done by bartering for trade in goods and services, Daniel Shays found that he was not the only soldier turned farmer that was in dire straights and destitute of the needed silver and gold.

The first governor of Mass, John Hancock turned a blind eye to the plight of the veterans return. He understood that there was no cash to be had. Unfortunately he made a decision not to seek reelection .His successor James Bowdoin is not as willing to overlook monies owed to the commonwealth. With the debts from the war totaling 25 million dollars, which in todays money comes out to around 600 million dollars. He wants this repaid, or the state takes away the farms and land that the soldiers had fought so dearly to defend. Debtors prisons were getting filled up, Personal possessions seized, and farms were often sold for pennies on the dollar. Daniel Shays was in trouble, with no money to pay his taxes his farm was under threat. He had to sell off his one possession that had worth, his Lafayette sword

He made the decision to fight back and very soon had 2200 former soldiers behind him, ready to fight again. Now during this time, the laws were made and seat of governance was in Boston ,Mass. A full days ride from the Berkshires, which was where this rebellion took place. Part of the start of the problem ,was this, none of the returning veterans had been paid in full for their service to the war effort.

Shays decided that marching on the courts and closing them down would buy the people some time .Five court houses in five different counties were shut down in the fall and winter of 1786 and 1787. This raised the ire of what Shays called the Boston elites. Now out of 247 townships in Mass. only 47 were heard from and participated in the writing of "The Articles of Confederation" The farmers and townspeople from western Mass. communities felt left out. And the feeling of fighting five years against the British against taxation without representation, was for naught. It was being put upon themselves by the very state of Mass. in fact the citizens were now paying more under the new tax laws of Mass. than the British had charged. Not good. . The Boston businessmen that decided the rebellion would be squashed had not fought in the revolution, and a total of 153 men pooled their resources together and hired a mercenary army to quell the rebels.

Retired general Benjamin Lincoln is hired and he assembles an army of 4400 men .In November of 1786 Henry Knox is very troubled by what he sees happening and pens a letter to Then Retired General George Washington, Knox feels that a civil war is going to happen if this rebellion is not stopped. Washington in turn pens a letter to Governor Bowdoin to think seriously about what he is doing, and point blank asks Bowdoin if he has gone mad, unfortunately the backers of Lincolns army want the tax money. Cronyism at its finest moment

And they expect results. You see the elite in question held the notes that were the pay for the retiring revolutions soldiers, an agreement in the state was for the soldiers to be paid the full value of what was owed them as the currency was still in British pound notes, the pound notes had no value they were ten cents to the dollar in current terms. An agreement that was only valid in Mass. had these note paid out at full face value. So by having paid out they wanted the money back. Somethings do not change. Greed creates its own problems.

Sam Adams pens an act of Militia law which the writ of a Habeas Corpus is enacted. He also states that any rebel is subjected to death upon capture, several days later he also pens the riot act which will allow an arrest and imprisonment if an individual is found to be involved with Shay's rebels

The word gets back to Shays, and the decision is made to raid the state armory in Springfield ,Mass. A group of 900 men are stationed at the armory under William Shepard's command, who is working under General Lincolns supervision. A messenger Job Shattuck is dispatched to round up the 2200 men at Shays disposal. It is December and four feet of snow is on the ground . With slow traveling the messenger is captured, and also wounded resulting in ,Shays men not getting word that they are needed at the armory .So with a reduced force of men, the decision to carry out the raid is made. Shepard is waiting, and lets loose a volley of grapeshot over Shay's men's heads. They do not retreat, but hold their ground. The next volley is leveled, and when the smoke clears ,four men lie dead and thirty are severely wounded. Shays men retreat.

Over 150 of Shays men are captured Shay manages to evade capture and finds his way to N.H. and eventually finds his way to Vermont. The then governor of Vermont Ethan Allen refuses to turn Shays over to the Mass. governor. The 150 that were captured all but twelve were pardoned. And three are hung, before being officially pardoned, sad.

In the meantime Henry Knox is very busy writing to George Washington and persuades Washington to come out of retirement. He agrees to meet with the representatives of the thirteen colonies in Philadelphia, Pa. and the ratification of the Articles of Confederation is rewritten to become the Document now known as the Constitution of the United States of America. Ratified and passed into law in 1788

The final outcome was a total reform of the method of payments for taxes. Shay's rebels became known as regulators. For admitting to being an active participant in the rebellion, they must agree to a disqualification act which simply stated for a period of three years if they cause no more trouble pay the taxes now due and stay current they will not participate in Jury duty, voting Holding the office of selectman or of running an inn and serving spirits.

Daniel Shay finished out his remaining days as a farmer in Seeks burg, Vermont . In the year 1820, he was finally paid and received his military pension at age 78 years it amounted to twenty dollars a month. In the year 1821 he died.

Shay's rebellion got results, perhaps that was the comparison that was made to todays elections But many comparisons to how government works are represented by the past.good bad or otherwise,till next time ,enjoy.

Bruce Caron
Technician/Shop Foreman
Bruce Caron
Brunswick, Georgia, USA

51 Replies Received (View Replies)