Shay’s Rebellion and the Constitution by Mary Hull, 2000, Excerpts
Alarmed by the widespread obstruction of justice, Governor Bowdoin of Massachusetts tried to get the local militias to put down these mobs. But too many of the western militiamen sided with the rebels. They refused to act against them. All across Massachusetts, militiamen deserted the militia rather than act against their countrymen. Many militiamen deserted their posts to join the rapidly growing rebel movement, which was becoming a militia itself.
In 1784, Daniel Shays, a farmer, was taken to court over a twelve-pound debt. Shays had become a member of a fraternal order know as the Freemasons while serving in the Revolutionary War in New York. Shays helped lead the Regulators in their occupation of the Springfield courthouse in September 1786. A group of eleven hundred Regulators banded together in Springfield to obstruct the Supreme Judicial Court. Some of the Regulators had armed themselves with clubs.