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"The History of the Insurrections in Massachusetts in the year seventeen hundred and eighty six and the Rebellion"
(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
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This complex piece, written in the flowery, wordy prose of the 19th century, traces the causes of the rebellions of Massachusetts citizens in 1786, 1787. Many of the men, along with the Commonwealth itself, were deeply in debt during and following the American Revolution. The former soldiers, especially those in the western Massachusetts counties of Berkshire and Hampshire, had spent nine years defending their liberties. Now, in debt, they were being asked to settle local debts and to pay taxes to the Commonwealth with money they did not have. Reacting to authority--to commercial interests and law in particular-- they banded together in August of 1786 and closed the courts in Northampton as a beginning. (Lawyers were odious to debtors as the legal instruments of their distress.) Within weeks mobs had shut down courts in five Massachusetts counties. However, it took General Benjamin Lincoln's army only five months to restore law and order to western Massachusetts.
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