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Shays’ Rebellion was a yearlong uprising in Massachusetts, 1786, by the poorer members of society (particularly the rural population) who did not agree with the new terms imposed on them by the state government. The Rebellion led to General George Washington becoming the first president of the United States.
See the fact file below for more information on Shays’ Rebellion or alternatively you can download our comprehensive worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
- Shays’ Rebellion lasted from August 1786 to June 1787.
- The rebellion was lead by (and named after) Daniel Shays, a Revolutionary War veteran and a farmer living in Massachusetts.
- Four thousand people took part in the uprising. They were known as ‘Shaysites’.
- Shays’ Rebellion took place because the rural population believed the richer merchant population was imposing unfair economic terms on them. The rich merchants were making the rural population pay taxes and debts with money that they, the poor farmers, didn’t have.
- Daniel Shays and some of the other soldiers began to protest against these unfair terms when they realized that none of them could pay.
- Before Shays’ Rebellion, the rural population would send petitions and proposals to the state to try and get them to issue more paper money to help them out. All of these petitions were ignored by the state.
- The first protest happened in August 1786 at a county court in Northampton, Massachusetts.
- In September 1786, Daniel Shays attempted to prevent the Supreme Judicial Court from meeting but the local military knew he was coming and stationed 300 men to protect the courthouse.
- By the end of 1786, groups all over the state had managed to shut down courts creating a feeling of anarchy and disorder.
- As a result, Samuel Adams (one of the Founding Fathers of the United States) helped to draw up the Riot Act that meant the rebels could be arrested and jailed without a trial. He even suggested people should be punished with execution.
- A total of 18 men were sentenced to death.
- Alongside the Riot Act, Samuel Adams tried to help the rural population by stating they could pay their taxes in farm goods rather than with money. However this did not stop the rebels.
- In January 1787, the Governor began creating a private army to fight against the rebels and recruited around 3000 people.
- At the end of January 1787, Shays and his Shaysites decided they would attack the Springfield Armory and surrounded the area, ready for an attack on January 25.
- One of Shays’ men, Luke Day, changed his mind about the Armory attack and said he wouldn’t be ready until the following day. Unfortunately this message was intercepted by the military so Shays never knew the date had been changed.
- When Shays and his men arrived at the Springfield Armory they were met by the military and the group fled to the north, stealing supplies and taking people hostage along the way to avoid General Lincoln who had sent his troops after them.
- Although Shays was eventually caught, he was pardoned in 1788 and chose to go into hiding.
- The US Constitution was established in 1787 as a result of Shays’ Rebellion and was presided over by George Washington. Its aim was to give government more structure and power, something that was lacking during the Rebellion.
Shays’ Rebellion Worksheets
This bundle contains 11 ready-to-use Shays’ Rebellion Worksheets that are perfect for students who want to learn more about Shays’ Rebellion which was a yearlong uprising in Massachusetts, 1786, by the poorer members of society (particularly the rural population) who did not agree with the new terms imposed on them by the state government.
Download includes the following worksheets:
- Shays’ Rebellion Facts
- Daniel Shays
- True or False
- Riot Act
- Rich vs Poor
- Word Power
- Battle Cry
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Link will appear as Shays’ Rebellion Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, November 26, 2017
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