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Like farmers in other parts of colonics, farmers in western Massachusetts were in desperate shape in the years after the Revolution. Many owed large amounts to creditors, inflation further weakened their economic position, and in 1786 the Massachusetts Assembly raised taxes. Farmers took up arms, closing government buildings and freeing farmers from debtor’s prisons. This rebellion was called Shay’s Rebellion, after one of its leaders, war veteran Daniel Shays. The rebellion spread throughout Massachusetts and began to gain supporters in other New England states. The rebellion was put down by an army paid for by citizens of Boston and by a lowering of taxes. To many, Shay’s Rebellion demonstrated that stronger state and national governments were needed to maintain order.

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