Shay’s Rebellion and the Constitution by Mary Hull, 2000, Excerpts
During the 1780s, mob in New Jersey, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Virginia all protested debtor courts and attacked tax collectors. Anarchy threatened to undermine the fledgling nation everywhere. The confrontation at the Springfield arsenal in January 1787 was the high point in a series of yeoman protests and Regulator conflicts that became known to history as Shays’ Rebellion.
After Shays’ Rebellion, state governments became even more convinced that the national government needed to be stronger in order to prevent further insurrections. Alexander Hamilton was one of the political leaders who pushed for a stronger federal government in the wake of Shays’ Rebellion. He had long argued that the Articles of Confederation was inadequate and needed to be revised to give more power to the federal government.
By the summer of 1788, the Constitution had been ratified by nine states and was officially adopted as the new governing document for the United States. Shays’ Rebellions had played a vital role in the creation of the United States Constitution. The fear the rebellion had evoked helped the Federalists in their crusade for a stronger government. The memory of Shays’ Rebellion and fear of other possible rebellions pushed many people who might otherwise have rejected a stronger national government to accept one.