In 1786, farmers of Western Massachusetts were pushed to the brink. Farmers had received very little compensation for serving in the Revolutionary war and businesses were demanding payment up front for items that could have previously been put on credit or bartered for. The lack of money drove many farms to form under leaders such as Daniel Shays and Luke Day, who would come to revolt against the Articles of the Confederation in what is now known as Shays’ Rebellion. In the end, it took George Washington coming down with men to squash the revolt.
This rebellion highlighted the weakness of the Articles of the Confederation, in spite of the ostracization of its participants afterwards. Lawmakers began debates for a stronger government that wouldn’t have the same issues as the contemporary Articles of the Confederation. Today, historians recognize that Shays’ Rebellion is directly connected to the formation of the Second Continental Congress. Governor John Hancock pardoned many of the farmers and leaders of the rebellion, but some leaders remained shunned. Daniel Shays, one of the leaders and namesake of the rebellion, moved to Sparta, NY after being pardoned from the $750 bounty placed on his head. When he passed in 1825, he was buried in an unmarked grave. Eventually a section of US Route 202 in Pelham, MA that was built in 1935 was named in his memory.