A LITTLE REBELLION by Marion L. Starkey


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From contemporary records, an exact examination of that relatively bloodless insurrection which was known as Shay's Rebellion, and which began in the spring of 1786 with certain farmers' grievances. The grumbling discontent over the heavy land tax, the foreclosures of mortgages, and possible imprisonment for debt, was at first localized in western Massachusetts, spread outside the state, and Daniel Shays- ""less a man than a myth"" was the not too ready or willing head of the armed rebels. The insurgents attempted to prevent the sitting of the courts; General Benjamin Lincoln led a command against them; but by the end of the winter Shay's army was a threadbare and frostbitten rebel band and they were easily routed and defeated. Later trials of the leaders imposed a sentence of death, but the many appeals for clemency led to individual pardons, and the rebellion itself achieved greater longevity in its effect on Massachusetts' ratification of the Federal Constitution... Miss Starkey, a careful investigator and interpreter of this period (The Devil in Massachusetts- 1949) writes for a serious audience, and it is unlikely that these ""commotions"" will carry to a more general market.

Publisher: Knopf