Daniel Shays Because of inflation, Continental soldiers did not receive the pay they earned fighting in the war. Daniel Shays was one of these soldiers. He was a farmer who could not afford to buy tools and seeds for planting.
Problems for Farmers Like many former soldiers, he borrowed money and went into debt. Some states made debtors pay back what they owed right away. If they could not pay, the state could take their land and send them to prison. Many farmers protested the laws.
Shay’s Rebellion In 1786 Daniel Shays, a former captain in the Continental army along with 1,200 other poor farmers joined together to show their anger about the situation.
Shay’s Rebellion In January 1787, they attacked a building used for storing weapons in Massachusetts. They wanted to show that the government was too weak to act. The governor of Massachusetts sent the state militia to end the conflict. Four protesters died in the fighting.
The Western Lands Now that the war was over, a decision had to be made about the lands in the Ohio River Valley. Before the war, King George III said these lands were reserved for the Native Americans. However, many Americans decided to go ahead and settle the lands.
A New Frontier Once the U.S. won their independence, it opened the frontier to settlement. The land north of the Ohio River was now called the Northwest Territory. The land south of the Ohio River was called the Southwest Territory.
The Northwest Ordinance In 1787, Congress passed the Northwest Ordinance. The ordinance established the steps by which new states would be formed from the lands. The ordinance did not allow people to keep slaves in the Northwest Territory. It also said Native Americans should be treated fairly.