Shays’ Rebellion and the Modern Day Tea Party Movement


At the end of this article, I will explain how I came to look up Shays’ Rebellion.

The irony that I realized is that if the Tea Party is motivated by the types of things that motivated Shays’ Rebellion then they should be firmly in the Democratic/Liberal camp.  So rather than dismiss them, we ought to understand them.  We can then explain why the Democrats are the most obvious choice for resolving their grievances.

The further irony is that the types of things that the Shays’ Rebellion was about were ultimately resolved by the writing of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights in an effort to form a stronger federal government.  It was the weak Articles of Confederation that allowed the abuses to which Shays rebelled.

The kind of country the Tea Partiers’ want to get back is the one that existed before Reaganomics hit us with a vengeance.  They haven’t quite realized that this is what they are asking for.  We need to explain it.

I found several interesting sites to flesh out your memory of what you may or may not have learned about Shays’ Rebellion in your history studies in high school.

I started with the WikiPedia article Shays’ Rebellion. Here is where I found the origin of the Thomas Jefferson quote so frequently cited by Tea Partiers.

Thomas Jefferson, who was serving as an ambassador to France at the time, refused to be alarmed by Shays’ Rebellion. In a letter to a friend, he wrote that “a little rebellion now and then is a good thing. The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”[17]

  1. ^ a b Foner, Eric. “Give Me Liberty! An American History.” New York: W.W Norton & Company, 2006. 219

This article uses Historian Howard Zinn as a major source.  I always like to cross-check his interpretation of history with more conventional sources.

The Springfield Armory page on the Shays’ Rebellion on the National Park Service web site, seems to corroborate WikiPedia.

The other side of Shays’ rebellion is described in this link given by The National Park Service in this paragraph:

The Shays’ Rebellion & the Making of a Nation website is the result of a collaboration among Springfield Technical Community College (STCC), the Springfield Armory NHS (US NPS), and the Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association (PVMA).

I came to look this up because of a discussion that I got into on the OpEdNews web site in response to the article that I mentioned in the previous post, Stock Market Collapse: More Goldman Market Rigging? I leave it up to you to look into this discussion if you are so inclined.

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