It was just after the Revolution. Times were considered pretty good. Shipping of goods from England had resumed, and the pent up demand was starting a boom economy. Many merchants, lawyers, and lenders, (most of them Loyalists to the Crown) had returned after having evacuated with the British army back in March of 1776. They knew when to cover their asses. The Bostonian elite was happily out of control with its spending. The poor, of course, were suffering. The U.S. Government at the time barely existed. It was also broke and in debt. European investors in the Revolution began demanding payment - in gold and silver. The Loyalist merchants and money lenders in Boston followed suit, demanding payment on pre-war loans. The Massachusetts legislature laid the heaviest tax in the history of the state. It was time to squeeze the poor some more.
As tensions mounted, the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts indicted what it thought were eleven leaders of the insurgency as "disorderly, riotous, and seditious persons." Shays, incensed by the indictments, organized an army of 700 farmers - mostly veterans like himself. He led them on a march to the court at Springfield. As the men marched, they were joined by deserting militia members, former soldiers, and townsfolk. In the meantime, General William Shepard - head of a local militia of 900 - sought permission from the US Secretary of War for the militia's use of weapons stored at the Springfield Armory.
In November, the Legislature suspended habeous corpus. It was being said that the “rebels”' goal was to share all private property as “the common property of all...” The governor dispatched a militia of 4,400 financed by Boston merchants, to re-open courts so they could continue to process property confiscations.
There were other "close the courthouse" operations, and many turned ugly. Rumors of atrocities inflicted by Government troops on innocent bystanders, including women and children, alarmed and inflamed the Regulators. Shays and other leaders began organizing more towns and farmers.
General George Washington, seeing the powerless position of his new country, left retirement and began to advocate a change in the Articles of Confederation for a stronger national government. In letters from France, Thomas Jefferson wrote; "A little rebellion now and then is a good thing. It is a medicine necessary for the sound health of government. God forbid that we should ever be twenty years without such a rebellion."
Shays attention tuned to the Springfield armory. Aside from providing weapons for his men, the armory would also provide safe shelter against the cold. He planned with other regulators to have three regiments take the armory on January the 25th.
On that day, one of Shays regiments was, unknown to him, delayed. He marched his other two regiments through 4 feet of snow towards the armory. General Shepard and his men, without authorization, "borrowed" weapons from the armory and were waiting to defend it. They had set up two cannons at the door. General Lincoln was about a day's march away. As Shays and his men approached, Shephard's men opened fire with the cannon. Four of Shays' men fell dead. Over forty were wounded. They had never thought that their neighbors and fellow veterans would fire at them. They faded into the woods.
Over the next two months, Shays and his men were pursued from Massachusetts to New Hampshire. Many, Shays included, found refuge in Vermont. Death sentences were handed down against the rebels. Most would be reprieved at the last moment as they stepped to the gallows noose. Eventually, only two were hung - and they had been horse thieves. After being pardoned, Shays landed in upstate New York, where he eventually died at the age of 76 or so, broke and in obscurity.
It has taken over a month to write all of this. On the second day at it, back in August, I saw another shadow form, this one thin, carrying a full garbage bag slung over its shoulder. He faded into the darkness.
Beck and Palin are both on the payroll of Fox News, which heavily promoted the event. Fox News is owned by Rupert Murdoch, whose News Corp. is the world's third largest media conglomerate. Click here for a list of Media Corp's assets, which range from the Times of London, to the Wall Street Journal, the New York Post, 20th Century Fox, Direct TV, the Fox TV network, and My Space. He is a principal backer of the Tea Party movement, along with the Koch brothers.
The Koch brothers are both Libertarians who advocate for the abolition of Social Security, federal regulatory agencies, welfare, the F.B.I., the C.I.A., and public schools. They operate oil refineries in Alaska, Texas, and Minnesota, control some four thousand miles of pipeline, and own products from Brawny paper towels, to Dixie cups, and Georgia-Pacific lumber. Their secret war against Obama was recently exposed by Jane Mayer's article, "Covert Operations", in the New Yorker. (Click here for article)
A couple of days ago, just as twilight was passing into darkness, I saw another shadow carrying a full garbage bag slung over one shoulder. He crossed through my apartment building's front yard. A neighbor, out on his balcony for a smoke, hollered out to the shadow that the recycle bin of bottles and cans had moved around the corner. The figure continued on its way.
In the 1930's, in order to expand the water supply for Boston, the Swift River Valley was dammed and flooded. Parts of Pelham, Mass. including Daniel Shays' home and farm, along with several other towns and sites tied to the rebellion, now sit at the bottom of the Quabbin Reservoir.