C. shay’s rebellion – national government start selling the NW land, the territories, auctions. In the
meantime, states are still in debt too. MA decides to raise taxes. Require payments be made in hard
currency. Property taxes and poll taxes raised. Some ppl now have trouble paying those taxes. Group of
farmers in west MA get together and start holding conventions about what they want to do about it.
Ask for help, send petitions to the state govt saying they can’t pay their taxes. When nothing happens,
decide to take action, Fall of 1786, 2k-3k armed farmers go to courthouses in 6 counties in MA and
take them over. Forced judges to sign agreement to not hold court until tax laws are changed. Tax
records kept in those courthouses and judges would be the ones prosecuting for not paying taxes.
Leaders of the group aren’t the poorest ppl, own land and officers of continental army, one of them was
Daniel Shays, not spearheading the whole thing but one of them, picked as a symbol of the rebellion
somewhat. Start rumors that they want to overthrow the government altogether, and burn down Boston.
National Congress in response triples the size of the national army, not many ppl sign up. Governor of
MA get donations from rich merchants in Boston, uses money to hire private army for himself of 3k
men. Farmers rushing to get to federal armory, hear governor raising private army, then militia (just
group of men opposed to rebellion) goes and tries to stop them. Small battle, few ppl are killed and
wounded. Next month, governor’s army arrives and captures 150 of the farmers and over the next
couple of weeks arrest 1k of them altogether. Some manage to escape to Canada, altogether 18 ppl
sentenced to death, 2 are executed, the other 16 not killed. MA passes Disqualification Act, ppl that
participated in Shays’s rebellion cannot vote, hold office, serve on juries, teach school, or operate
taverns for 3 years. Worries ppl about government that ppl are even rebelling on a small scale.
II. The Constitution
A. The Convention – people starting to realize problems with Articles of Confederation so James
Madison convinces national congress they need to do something about it. Have a meeting about it, first
time they try to have a meeting in MD September 1786, only 5 states show up. Reschedule for
Philadelphia, May 1787, all states but RI send delegates. 55 men come to the convention to talk about
what to do. Original purpose was to revise Articles of Confederation. Some ppl including Alexander
Hamilton says we need to do whatever we need to do to strengthen national government even if he
have to start from scratch. 2/3 of ppl who go are lawyers, most have served in national congress before,
half were officers in national army, 7 were governors. Upper socio-economy level of society. No
farmers, no artisans, most had served in national congress at some point. Most of them are younger
than first gen of founding fathers, old folks still here like Ben Franklin and George Washington. They