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Shays Rebelion

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Shays Rebellion Historiography Paper
In 1786 Daniel Shay, a farmer, and former revolutionary war officer led two thousand other farmers and angry men to attempt to shut down the courts of the tyrannical government in three western counties in Massachusetts. This event has come to be known as Shays Rebellion. In 1784 a depression has arrived and began in Massachusetts after the state lost its best market, the British West Indies. Also the state legislature had to pay off revolutionary war debts, and since Britain was low on gold and silver coins, they would not accept paper money as a worthy currency. For this cause the state demanded taxes to pay off the debts. However at the bottom of the food chain, or cycle were the poor hard working farmers. None of the farmers could afford to pay off their taxes, and like other farmers in America, Massachusetts farmers were used to paying creditors and other farmers certain items. These items would include grain, wool, or sometimes, they would offer services such as shoeing a horse, or helping to build a barn. However the government demanded that everybody, including the poor farmers to pay taxes, and since this was foreign to the farmers, not a lot of farmers paid because they could not afford to. Another factor was since agriculture was low in Massachusetts, not a lot of farmers made much money. For this, poor farmers had meetings to discuss the way of the government. With it, Daniel Shay, a farmer and former Revolutionary war officer led two thousand men to take down the government, in the three counties out in the west. After a while Shay and his rebellion were able to take over the legislature, cut taxes and secured a pardon for their leader.
Even though Shays rebellion did not cause a lot of uprising and mayhem against the states and the government there still was some importance to it. For Shays uprising and similar but less militant movement in other states, Shays rebellion symbolized for critics of the weak national government to take a stand, and fight for what they believe in. After the outbreak of the rebellion small town farmers turned widely indifferent to national politics. The rebellion did not break out as big as Bacons Rebellion did, but it did show America the power of the separation of classes, and a new look at farmers, and their role.
In the Enduring Vision by Boyer, and Paul Etal, the author uses an economic filter while describing Shays rebellion. One of the reasons why the author portrays Shays rebellion using an economic filter is because at the begging of the text, one of the main factors that the author used of what was the start of the paying of the taxes and the rebellion was the depression that Massachusetts just entered. The author states that one of the reasons that Massachusetts is in a major depression is because they lost their best market of trade with the British West Indies. Another factor of why the author used an economic filter while portraying Shays rebellion is because the author uses a lot of key words throughout the text for example like merchants, depression, taxes, market, tariff, war debts, foreclosures, and exports. All these words were used more than once in describing situations that led up to the rebellion. Also the author talks a lot about agriculture and how even though not a lot of crops were growing in the region, it was still a huge business. It seems that the author’s main focus on the cause and reason of why Shays rebellion broke out is because of economic reasons. However the author also seems as if the depression is the main cause of the rebellion as well. If Massachusetts was not in a depression, and was not losing money left and right then it would be easier for the state to pay off the war debts. However since the state could not, the government were after everybody to help pay off their mess of trouble, and with it they even asked the poor farmers who could not afford to. With that they broke out into a rebellion. So it seems as if the author is saying the main cause of the rebellion was the depression, and the economic factors leading up to the event.
In America, A Narrative History by Tindall, George, and David E.Shi, the author uses more of a social filter while describing Shays rebellion throughout the text. One of the examples that the author uses to describe the rebellion through a social filter is when the author talks about whom and where the taxes fell heavenly upon the most. Of course this was the poor farmers. This is an example of the separation of the classes, instead of the government going after the aristocrats and asking them for taxes, they go against the poor farmers and demand that they pay taxes, even though the famers cannot afford to. It seems as if the government is giving the rich a free pass and the poor a punishment. Another example is when the author describes on how the three western counties in Massachusetts erupted and revolted. It seems as if the author focuses more on the people’s point of view rather than anything else. For instance in the text the author talks more about how the poor farmers came together and revolted, and described the victories they encountered and what they did. The first text that was described did not. The Enduring Vision focused more on what was going on economically, they did not really focus on what the people did about the situation with the taxes, and what they did to overcome it. Of course they revolted against the government, but in America, A Narrative History they focus more on the people’s point of view, and what they are going to do, and who was affected the most. For example, in America, A Narrative History, the author described some of the victories the farmers had, such as how shay and his rebellion allowed the government to pass a law where they can use corn and wheat as money, and also the right to postpone taxes until the depression lifted. Other victories that were encountered and caused by Shay and his rebellion were how the government exempted clothing, and household goods and tools from the debt process. Also according to the text, shays rebellion made the new state legislature include members that were sympathetic to the agriculture crisis. With the author describing, and giving more depth about the revolting farmers and their victories, you can definitely see that the author used more of a social filter to describe Shays rebellion. The reason being because he focuses more on the aspect of the people, and their victories and, what they did to revolt and stop the madness of taxing the poor farmers, than describing the economic factors that the rebellion brought.
In The American Pageant by David M. Kennedy, Lizabeth Cohen, and Thomas A. Bailey, these three sets of authors use an economic filter while describing Shays rebellion. The reason being, because the authors once again based from the first text the Enduring Vision, they focus more on the economic aspect of the situation. What was the cause of the rebellion; it was all based from an economic standpoint. Also in the text, the authors use many economic terms such as tax delinquencies, mortgage foreclosures, property takeovers, etc. Based from the Enduring Vision and The American Pageant both sets of author’s point of view on the situation were caused by economic problems, and the cause of the rebellion was mainly caused by economical issues.
As you can see in all three texts two out of the three were written using an economic filter. With that the authors of these two pieces of text saw Shays rebellion as an economical issue, based with the vocabulary they used throughout the text, and also their standpoint on the situation. With America, A Narrative History the author uses a social filter while describing shays rebellion, based from their standpoint on the situation, and also how they focus more on what the people’s reaction was to the economy, how they responded, and what they did to rebel. As you can see each author has their own point of view on the situation, what the cause of the situation was, and what main factor started the rebellion.…...

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