Shays' Rebellion collection
1784-1787 (bulk 1787)
By the summer of 1786, many Massachusetts residents had grown discontent with the state's economic policies, which were constructed to alleviate the post-Revolutionary War depression. Farmers and other citizens, who traded in goods rather than currency, were disproportionately affected by increased taxes and the requirement that debt payments be made with paper currency. Other complaints included high legal fees and inflated salaries for public officials. By late August 1786, conflicts had broken out between angry citizens and local government institutions. The Massachusetts government requested permission from the Secretary of War to arm the state militia before the end of the year. In early 1787, Revolutionary War veteran Daniel Shays led an attempt to overtake a federal arsenal at Springfield, Massachusetts, where his "Regulators" met federal regiments under the command of Major General Benjamin Lincoln. Though resentment, pardons, punishments, and legislative responses continued into the following months, the rebellion effectively ended in February 1787.