Hist 105 Shays Rebellion Book Review History 105 Essay

664 words - 3 pages

Reflecting on the work of Shays’ Rebellion by David P. Szatmary, one can begin to understand how debt brought about from a previous war and a newly formed, small and weak centralized government can lead to a depression. Szatmary shows the segregation of class by analyzing Shays’ Rebellion through the two opposing sides of the New England commercial merchants and the yeomen farmers, the two social classes effected most by this debt from the war. His purpose was to show how the materialistic vision of the merchants after the war conflicted with the livelihood of the subsistence yeomen farmers who were facing increasing debt due to their weak harvests and creditors taking back land and livestock for repayment of the land. He also understood how the newly formed weak centralized government, allowed for great power among the states and little federal government power. This in turn caused the rebellion amongst the farmers led by Daniel Shays know later as Shays Rebellion.
The implementation of taxation was drawn from the Revolutionary War that America had just gone through. Debt was incentivized by the European Merchants who wanted gold and silver for the repayment of the goods they provided during the war. However, with the farmers struggling to harvest, and many never being paid for their war duties, there was a lack of money in the market. Because of this, tension rose between merchants and farmers due to the lack of laws protecting the debtors in America. This tension was highly visible through the process known as the “chain of debt.” The “chain of debt” started as European merchants were scrambling to pay off their debt they accrued through trade. This made them demand payment from the interior merchants of America after the war. This pressure was then placed on the yeoman farmers who were greatly in debt to the local merchants. Many legal actions arose due to many farmers not being able to pay off the debt they acquired. With the farmers incapable of paying back the local merchants, farmers suffered by losing their land...

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