By his Excellency James Bowdoin, Esq. Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. A PROCLAMATION

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Boston: Adams and Nourse, . Broadside, folio, (16 x 121-3/4 inches). Town clerk's holograph on the verso shows through a bit, with marginal stab holes from posting, little faded on the bottom, a near fine copy. Evans 20501. Rare. (Item ID: 12499)

This is the Proclamaion of the act that states the terms of pardon to all but a few of the leaders, that was passed the previous day The so called Shays' Rebellion led by one Daniel Shays grew out of the frustration and anger of small farmers who had fought the Revolution against the British only to be forced off their farms because the Continental Currency with which they had been paid was worthless and the state government would allow payment of taxes only in gold or British Sterling. Shays' army had been repulsed on its attack at the arsenal in Springfield, MA and was finally defeated by General Lincoln's army in February, 1787. The Shays' Rebellion was critical in forcing changes in the Articles of Confederation and the coming of the new federal Constitution. At the convening the of Annapolis Convention of 1786, only twelve commissioners from New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Virginia had met to discuss the short comings in interstate commerce under the Articles of Confederation. The convention took no action except to recommend a larger convention the next year. By the time the Convention was held in Philadelphia in 1787, there were armed insurrections in nearly all of the colonies. Many viewed the rebellions as proof of a need for a stronger federal government, capable of suppressing such uprisings and/or improving the conditions that brought them on. Thus, the Shays' rebellion strengthened the movement culminating in the adoption of the Federal Constitution. Bowdoin, Governor during the insurrections, was defeated (by John Hancock) in the next election and reforms in line with the Shaysites' demands were soon made.


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