Shays’s rebellion & the march on springfield arsenal simulation



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DEBRIEFING: Teachers familiar with the history of Shays’s Rebellion should explain to the class that most Revolutionary War soldiers were paid in paper Continental Dollars which became nearly worthless after the war [about 10 cents on the Dollar!]. And it was after the Revolutionary War that powerful and wealthy people in Massachusetts changed the laws (embodied in the 1780 Massachusetts Constitution) so that only those with a lot of money could vote and make the rules. The attack on Springfield Arsenal in 1787 by desperately poor and powerless people was a violent attempt to change the rules in Massachusetts to make society more equitable and democratic. Though the attack failed, it did help bring about improvements because the laws [rules] changed and social tensions were reduced. The attack on the Arsenal caused many leaders in the nation to meet in Philadelphia a few months after the attack on Springfield Arsenal to support the creation of a new national US Constitution that would create a more democratic society and avoid violent revolutions. Today, we live under those ‘new’ rules created in Philadelphia in 1787.




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