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This Day in Boston History
August 29th, 1786
| On this day farmers seeking
relief from strict debt laws in Massachusetts began a revolution. Wearing
the same uniforms they had fought the British in, they occupied the Court
of Common Pleas at Northampton, and soon courts in Worcester, Concord, Taunton,
and Great Barrington.
Governor James Bowdoin assembled 4,400 militiamen to engage 2,000 farmers.
For five months the rebels were at large, until the decisive conflict Petersham
on February 3rd broke the rebellion.
Fourteen of the insurrection's leaders were sentenced to hang for treason.
Most were later pardoned by the newly elected Governor John Hancock. Shays
Rebellion is considered a primary reason why the founding fathers went on
to establish a strong central government in the U.S. Constitution.