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Life and Views of a Western Farmer

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In the Late 1780s

State of the Union

After the Revolutionary War, the United States was in a province of economic pandemonium. Depression and rising prices were prevailing as a consequence of the war. Established trading forms were in confusion. The Congress had no power at this clip under the Articles of Confederation. In the 13 provinces, where power was centered, the separate currencies were in shambles. The United States was in demand of a authorities with power and control because the Articles of Confederation were missing many things and had left the authorities powerless.

Life as a Western Farmer in the 1780s

Life as a western Massachusetts husbandman at this clip was hard to state the least. Farmers produced merely plenty from their land to back up their households. If they were lucky and had a good twelvemonth, there might be adequate excess harvests to sell or merchandise for goods. Farmers lived in the changeless fright that they could lose their land and/or freedom to debt aggregators. Unable to merchandise with foreign states, the New England country merchandisers had to roll up on loans made to husbandmans to do up for the deficiency of income from foreign trade. If the husbandman could non pay the debt, his land could be taken to cover the debt ( Szatmary 19 ) . In many instances, husbandmans were imprisoned for failure to refund their debitors. To a husbandman, having land was a signifier of independency and freedom. Losing land meant losing freedom and independency to a husbandman. This menace was taking to increased tenseness between the farming category and the commercial universe.

As more and more merchandisers began trying to roll up debts owed to them by husbandmans, tensenesss between the two were get downing to boil over. The merchandisers truly had no pick but to seek and roll up debts for a beginning of income. The Articles of Confederation left the authorities without any power. Foreign trade could non be established without authorities power. Merchants could non merchandise with other states on their ain and, as a consequence, were losing important sums of income. To maintain afloat, the merchandisers had to roll up their debts from those who owed them. Most of those that owed debts were hapless husbandmans.

As husbandmans were losing their farms and being imprisoned, other husbandmans were banding together to protect their farms. Farmers were upset with the unsettled economic conditions that were prevailing after the Revolutionary war. They felt that politicians and Torahs were grossly unjust to husbandmans and working people. In add-on, husbandmans protested inordinate revenue enhancements on belongings and canvass revenue enhancements that prevented the hapless from voting. They were particularly unhappy with the tribunal system and tried to halt the tribunals from operating. Another concern for husbandmans was the deficiency of a stable currency. This non merely affected the husbandmans, but the remainder of the United States. Many provinces had their ain currencies, which caused jobs for husbandmans seeking to sell their harvests. Different currencies meant that harvests could be deserving more in one province and less in another. Farmers, hence, rallied for the authorities issue of paper money ( Davis 83 ) .

The tenseness between hapless husbandmans and the affluent commercial merchandisers and tribunals finally boiled over into a matured rebellion in 1786. The rebellion, Shays & # 8217 ; Rebellion, was lead by a western Massachusetts husbandman named Daniel Shays. The rebellion consisted chiefly of hapless husbandmans threatened with loss of belongings and imprisonment for debt. The husbandmans put up a good battle, but were finally defeated within a twelvemonth by the reserves. Without meaning it, the husbandmans really bolstered support for a strong national authorities with a military force of its ain to incorporate rebellious attempts such as Shays & # 8217 ; Rebellion ( Szatmary 6 ) .

The Framers

The work forces who gathered to develop the Constitution were representatives of the commercial society that the husbandmans so detested. There were affluent bankers, business communities and attorneies present at the convent

ion. Work force such as James Madison, Alexander Hamilton and John Adams were in attending. The on the job category and husbandmans were non represented in this group ( Miller 12 ) . Having been left out of engagement and representation during the authorship of the Constitution, how could the working category and husbandmans be heard or back up the papers that was being developed by the alleged enemy?

Positions of the Western Farmer on the Constitution Itself

The events that were taking topographic point in Philadelphia would hold been of great concern to the husbandman. Though he may non back up everything in the Constitution, it is imaginable that he may hold supported certain commissariats of the Constitution.

A husbandman must hold felt threatened by the thought of a federal authorities made up of those who supported commerce. The growing of commerce was endangering the husbandman invariably. The work forces who had gathered were set uping a Congress that would be staffed by the rich and powerful, who would be given the authorization to revenue enhancement in order to roll up money to run the new authorities. Taxes and debts were sensitive topics with husbandmans and back uping that thought of a powerful burdensome authorities would be hard for the agriculture community.

Even though the new authorities would be run by the rich and powerful, I feel that some husbandmans may hold supported the Constitution. The Fundamental law was traveling to give the authorities the power to prosecute in foreign dealingss and trade. This would re-establish merchandisers ability to merchandise with others increasing their signifiers of income. In the long tally, this may do the merchandisers to endorse of the intense debt roll uping from husbandmans because the force per unit area to bring forth income would be relieved slightly by the regained foreign trade income. In add-on, the Constitution ordered Congress to set up a cardinal currency backed by gold. The husbandmans who had been forcing for authorities issue of money during Shays & # 8217 ; Rebellion would hold favored this attempt.

Overall, I believe that the bulk of husbandmans, peculiarly western Massachusetts & # 8217 ; s husbandmans, would by and large oppose the Constitution. The thought of a strong national authorities run by the protagonists of a commercial society struck fright in the Black Marias of the western husbandman. Farmers for the most portion feared that these commercial advocates would catch the rebellious husbandmans with the federal military force that they were including in the development of the Constitution.

Positions of the People in General on the Fundamental law

When it came clip to sign the Constitution, support was changing. Determining support meant looking at different types of people and where they where located in the United States. Most of the opposition to the Constitution and a strong national authorities came from the working category and husbandmans in the New England provinces ( Miller 15 ) . These people must hold feared that this new powerful authorities would somehow hinder upon their freedom or their belongings. They felt that they had more to lose under this new authorities than if conditions remained the same.

The most support for a strong national authorities came from the merchandisers, bankers and attorneies. The affluent society appeared to be steadfast supports of the new Constitution. Merchants and tribunal employees particularly realized the demand for an organized armed forces after being marks of the rebellious husbandmans during Shays & # 8217 ; Rebellion. In decision, one can reasonably accurately determine support or contempt for the Constitution merely by looking at the working conditions and locations of the people. By and large, hapless husbandmans and working category people abhorred the thought of a strong federal authorities while the affluent merchandisers, bankers and attorneies supported these constructs.

Bibliography

Davis, Kenneth C. , Don & # 8217 ; t Know Much about History, Avon Books, N. Y. , 1990.

Miller, John C. , The Federalist Era, Harper & A ; Row, Inc. , N. Y. , 1960.

Szatmary, David P. , Shay & # 8217 ; s Rebellion, University of Massachusetts Press 1980.

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