24 August 2012

Debt Reforms Passed

Shay’s Rebellion and the Constitution by Mary Hull, 2000, Excerpts

Immediately following the uprisings of 1787, the Massachusetts legislature, at long last, responded to some of the demands of yeoman farmers. The tender law was extended, and debtors were allowed to leave debtor’s prison if they swore an oath saying that they had no property to pay their debts or sustain themselves while they were in prison. Taxes were lower in 1788 than they had been in eight years.

Most rebels were pardoned, provided that they agreed to sign an oath of allegiance to the state. Those who surrendered were barred from voting or holding elected office for three years. To prevent them from encouraging another rebellion, they were also disqualified from teaching school or running taverns.

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