Imagine a scenario in which you loan someone 1000

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Imagine a scenario in which you loan someone $1,000. When the loan comes due, the borrower tries to repay you in paper bills worth just $100. Of course you reject the bills and demand payment in gold, silver, or something with true value. But when the government learns what you’ve done, it passes a law forcing you to accept the bills as payment in full. As a result of this law, you lose 90 percent of your original investment. That’s how government worked in a handfulof states where democratic zeal produced powerful legislatures controlled by the masses. It was essentially theft by majority rule. Massachusetts was among the states that refused to pass such policies, but this refusal only caused problems of a different sort. In 1786, after an unsuccessful push for debt-relief legislation, a band of farmers in western Massachusetts rebelled at losing their land to creditors. Led by Revolutionary War captain Daniel Shays, this rebellion (called Shays’s Rebellion) was a series of armed attacks on courthouses to prevent judges from foreclosing on farms. The rebels’ plan was to hold the courts hostage until the next election, buying time for debt-ridden farmers to elect new lawmakers who saw things their way. Economic elites were frightened that people had taken the law into their own hands and violated creditors’ rights. The national government was helpless to put down the rebellion for two reasons: Congress had no authority to intervene in the domestic affairs of a sovereign state, and it lacked funds to raise an army. Thus, the governor of Massachusetts had to collect donations from wealthy merchants to finance a militia that eventually defeated the rebels. Chapter Two, Lesson 3 These events highlighted the weakness of American government under the Articles of Confederation. During the rebellion, George Washington wrote from his plantation in Virginia: “I am mortified beyond expression that in the moment of our acknowledged independence we should by our conduct verify the predictions of our transatlantic foe, and render ourselves ridiculous and contemptible in the eyes of all Europe.” Justifiably so, European powers had predicted that the United States would destroy itself. Once Shays’s Rebellion was finally put down, George Washington reflected, “If government shrinks, or is unable to enforce its laws . . . anarchy & confusion must prevail.”
Not just in Massachusetts either. Every state knew that it was vulnerable to insurrection, and that the national government had neither means nor power to come to the rescue. Shays’s Rebellion was a wake-up call demonstrating a dire need to reform America’s constitutional order.THE ANNAPOLIS CONVENTION Washington’s mortification also stemmed from the commercial conflicts that posed a serious threat of state-on-state violence. Congress could not eliminate this threat because it lacked authority to impose a uniform commercial policy on the United States. The sovereign states

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