A Day That “Unexpectedly Changed America”

Glenn Beck’s new book, “Miracle and Massacres, is about helping people connect with the true, untold history of America. In chapter two, Glenn tells the story of Shays’ Rebellion, a conflict that crystallized the flaws of America under the Articles of Confederation and led to the Constitutional Convention.

Pick up an autographed copy of “Miracles and Massacres” by Glenn Beck HERE

Anarchy and tyranny — two radical extremes on the scale of government control. Each side has its lures and traps, and each has its advocates among those naïve or power-hungry people who still haven’t learned the hard lessons of history.

One of those lessons — an event we now remember as “Shays’ Rebellion – threatened to explode into something big enough to tear our new nation apart at the seams.

The end of the Revolutionary War was only the beginning for the young United States. There were many troubled years between 1783 and the day the final draft of the Constitution went into effect.

The foreign debt we accumulated during the revolution was enormous and, unlike today, that debt had to be paid … on time and in cash. But there was a big problem: the Articles of Confederation had created a central government so weak that it was unable to collect or even regulate taxes. That left it up to each of the 13 individual states to decide how to extract their share of what was owed from its citizens.

Massachusetts was hit particularly hard, and the farmers of that state, many of whom were veterans of the very war that had freed them from British tyranny, took the brunt of it. At the same time they were losing their homes and their land to rising taxes and foreclosure, some lacked the qualifications to even cast a vote in protest. Now, facing ruin and debtors’ prison, they felt powerless to fight back against the government policies that were bankrupting them.

When all else failed, a leader emerged to give his fellow citizens a voice — a farmer and a veteran named Daniel Shays. He organized a group of 1,500 like-minded men, and together they marched on the Springfield Courthouse, clubs and pitchforks and muskets in hand. Without firing a shot they sent the judges home and put a stop to that day’s foreclosure hearings.

It was a victory for anarchy, but it was short-lived. As word of this action spread, other pockets of resistance sprang up and similar scenes took place across western Massachusetts. As the confrontations escalated, the government responded, meeting force with force.

A final confrontation was still to come – a bloody battle that cost lives, and changed everything. But that was only a short-term consequence. The lasting impact of Shays’ Rebellion was the Constitution itself.

Designed to be strong enough to stave off anarchy, yet balanced enough to keep tyranny at bay, the Constitution handed citizens the greatest power of all — a vote in a representative republic.

Now, thanks in part to the warning triggered by a simple farmer in Massachusetts, we all sit here today with every bit of power we need to change our country … if only we’d remember how to use it.


  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V8FvmesaxXg Sam Fisher

    That is why full blown Anarchy does not work.

    • fire lion

      what? Anarchy always works because it always exists. The constitution is a artificial, man made thing. The constitution is imperfect. Anarchy is perfect, because its completely fair to everyone. Might makes right.

      This is why the constitution falters. It cannot combine winner takes all capitalism with platitudes like ” liberty” ” equality” These words are not even mentioned in the bible.

      • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V8FvmesaxXg Sam Fisher

        You are out of your mind.

        • fire lion

          no reasoned rebuttal? figures…….

          • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V8FvmesaxXg Sam Fisher

            Because it is that stupid.

      • Anonymous

        Anarchy rarely works because anarchists have to be able to replace the older system with a better system. The U.S. Constitution creating a Republic effected positive change all over the world because the ‘founders’ were well educated.

        “If a nation expects to be ignorant and free in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.”
        Thomas Jefferson

        “If we are to guard against ignorance and remain free, as Jefferson
        cautioned, it is the responsibility of every American to be informed.”
        Ronald Reagan

        It is pretty clear that the 51% who voted for the idiot liar Obama are too ignorant to be free and the public school system has to change if we are to stop the government dominated welfare society of victims that Obama so lusts after.

        • Eric

          The illusion of choice is not really any choice at all. If a child wants pizza and his father tells him he can pick from a sandwich or a hot dog he has not made a choice, his father has made one for him. His father has picked the sandwich and the hot dog and he will not have pizza.

          • Anonymous

            If you are 18 or older you are not a child or a victim unless you choose to be. You have your own job even if part time and buy what you want to eat. I worked a full time job nights while going to college. We are all in this together and share the responsibility of life. When I was 18 I was not a child or a victim. I just did not see the bigger picture and consequently did share the responsibly of Citizenship as much as I should have. Our parents nor I had the internet for alternative news and everyone has an excuse if they are looking for one but excuses don’t change things. The controllers always think and plan a hundred years in advance and we don’t. That is our downfall and the downfall of freedom in America.

        • Anonymous

          All of the 51% are too ignorant to be free? Do you claim that well-educated people didn’t vote for Obama? Did you know that voting preference tends to be determined more by cultural affiliation and demographics than by education? Moreover, within any given demographic, the people with higher education are more likely to vote for the Left? I’m interested in how you square that reality with your belief in the supposed ignorance of the Left.

  • Shane Mayfield

    Excellent article!

  • fire lion

    Ironic, Shay went to stop foreclosures and now we have people who are drowning in debt due to their free market healthcare coverage being so terrible.

    Statistically, most bankruptcies, and foreclosures are due to healthcare. But instead of someone marching to stop the injustice. We have people marching to make sure everyone has crappy free market healthcare that drops you as soon as you get real sick.

    • Diane Sroka Benjamin

      where did your info come from? Not from anything being proposed to replace ObamaCare!

  • Alan Higginbotham

    that is fine IF you can keep the elections fair and honest. That may not be the case in the US any more.

    • Anonymous

      Fair and honest elections. You can find those things in a closet on a shelf next to the Pixie dust, and the tooth fairy.

      The last fair and honest election was when George H W Bush won.

      Clinton used Chinese Communist campaign contributions, was a serial rapist, and used sexual intimidation against interns. He also had people “disappear”.

      George W Bush was almost beaten by Gore and Kerry when they tried to cheat by manufacturing votes, finding extra votes in a car trunk, dis-allowing votes by the Military, etc.

      Obama’s team learned a valuable lesson from the Gore and Kerry losses. If you are going to cheat, you need to cheat BIG TIME. You have to make sure you get an extra 15% fraudulent votes to make sure you win. If the Republican wins by 15%, it will almost be a tie.

      The next Presidential election, the Republicans are going to need to win by at least 20% to counteract the Democrat fraud machine.

      • Eric

        The electoral college decides who will be president, not the voters. Does not matter how many people vote for a candidate, elite power brokers pick the figurehead.

  • Diane Sroka Benjamin

    I’m fighting City Hall with no money and a lot of citizens support. The Attorney General who has a whole division to protect citizens from government isn’t capable. I guess it’s time to raise funds for lawsuits!

  • Anonymous

    The days when you could march on the courthouse with pitchforks and muskets, ended 200 years ago.

    Today we have a government that has drones that can hit a large group of people without them seeing it coming. They have Jets, tanks, cruise missiles and even Nukes to use against us. They can stop all food distribution, energy supplies, medicines etc. They control every aspect of our lives.
    The only weapon we still have is our vote, which we could use to get rid of these petty dictators. Unfortunately, the vote seems to be the next right we will lose. Harry Reid’s Senate scumbags voted just today to make it easier to push Obama’s crooked nominees through the confirmation process. It used to require a 2/3 vote, now it is a simple majority.
    In 2014 we have what will probably be our last chance to stop the Democrat coup d’etat, by voting out the sleazy people who are in the Senate, and replacing them with real Americans. The Democrats have declared war on the American people. We must stop them.

    • jared

      You’re wrong for implying a violent revolt wouldn’t work. You site their tanks, jets, and nukes would destroy the revolting populous. However there are a few things I don’t think you’ve considered, you seem to neglect the fact that the people operating those war machines would be American service men, plenty of whom who operate in combat arms are at least somewhat patriots and would fight with the revolt and not harm American citizens. America’s full military force has been fighting an 11 year war against an insurgency of people who literally wipe their ass with their bare hand, I think an ass load of armed Americans would fare just fine. Back to my first point just to add a caveat, I can only see the enemy being a militarized police force supplemented with military assets, which I think we could handle. Lastly the nuke thing is an impossible scenario, no way on earth would the government nuke a city of it’s own; there’s not a single reason that would ever come close for that to become an option.

      • dave

        if Obama puts on his Muslim garb and goes back to Indonesia..while the revolt is rising….he won’t care what happens…he will not be here….thus having Russia strike on us :-(

      • Eric

        The Government would not stand a chance against a widespread armed popular resistance. They would be far outnumbered and outgunned. The average citizen had much more firepower than the average soldier and much more ammunition. You cannot fight a country this large with the Army at the size it is now, too much area, too many people. The first thing the people would do would be seize the bases and the armories. That being said, the only thing that keeps our government in power is our cooperation. All we have to do to end this government is for all citizen to stop cooperating with the establishment. Stop going to court, stop paying taxes, stop paying fines, stop pulling over for policemen, stop voting, using government programs, stop getting permits, and stop seeking help from government officials. They don’t have the resources to enforce their laws or the jails to hold their lawbreakers in the event of a massive popular defiance of authority. No need for violence, just stop cooperating. When no one shows up at the polls to vote, the government cannot claim to be legitimate and would not be recognized by the rest of the world, and that would be the end of the game right there.

      • Judy Evans

        JARED, there are now foreign soldiers on every single American Military installation we have. Every one. Including Ft. Riley, Ks. We can forget Posse Commitatus. I agree not even the new American gov.org would nuke a city, but others sure would. I can think of any number of Muslims that would, in fact. And Obama would protect them in court, as he is protecting Major Hassan. In MY view, our only hope is prayer, returning to God, humbling ourselves, turning from our own ways and seeking HIS favor. JMHO.

  • Anonymous

    Without morally honest people in government, without honest elections,,,things are not going to end well.

  • Anonymous

    As a resident of Western Massachusetts, and a frequent traveler on the “Daniel Shays Highway (route 202), I find it appalling that the place where the revolution started, where John Adams, John Hancock, Paul Revere, John Quincy Adams, and many other patriots fought for and won our right to govern ourselves, is now governed by left wing radicals, big government types, tax and spend liberals, and in many cases, crooked politicians. We even named towns after the patriots, Adams, Hancock, Revere, Quincy. What an insult to these brave souls to name liberal cities in a sleazy state after them.

    These are all Democrats along with about 5% Republicans in name only who go along to get along. Running for office as a Republican is a losing proposition, unless you are just like a Democrat. You have to be for Gay marriage, abortion, high taxes, and government intrusion in everyone’s lives.

    We thought we had elected a Republican to the Senate in 2010, then he always voted with the Democrats. He was voted out last year and replaced with a Democrat who used a lie to get into college, get scholarships, and get a position as a professor at Harvard for $300,000.00 per year. The lie was that she was a minority…a member of the Cherokee Nation. She stole all those things from some worthy minority, and yet all the minorities voted for her. Now they are talking about running this Faux-cohontas for president. Just remember the name Senator Elizabeth Warren next year and maybe it will bring to mind her cheating at life’s lottery.

    • Anonymous

      jimbo – several people keep putting warren with merkley for president and vp on merkley’s face book page…I remind them that she is a liar, but they don’t care, just like they don’t care that obama lied…I liked your comment

      • John Scott

        The liberals call lying the necessary non truths to save us from a freedom this Country was started on. obviously the liberals would like a more European socialist system which I thought our founding fathers were trying to escape?

    • Anonymous

      I feel the same way about California. The bravest, the most adventurous, the strongest and the true children of the revolution were the ones who braved the wild country, the harsh weather and the unknown – crossed this great expanse of land that is America, and settled California. Now, all that remains of that fighting spirit is the footprints they left behind and the plaques marking their final resting places.

  • Tim

    It’s over my friends. The debt and unfunded liabilities can not be repaid. There are more people dependent on government than not and to expect them to vote against their “lively hood” is a fantasy. Actions have consequences and we’ve yet to pay for the mistakes of the past. All debt is repaid in treasure or blood and we’ve exhausted our treasure. Take steps to care for your family and to be right with God because this ship is sinking. America was great because of how we behaved as a nation and not because God loves us more the Chinese or anyone else. While I agree with many of the things that Glenn or others say, they do not put their lives and honor on the line. They praise what our founders say but not what they DID. All the while getting rich “fighting” against the system. A half truth is still a lie!

  • badmammajamma

    Shay was right! The instantiation of a so called, “more perfect union” (more like, “less worse”), was a step backwards in our collective evolution as a people and country. I’m not endorsing anarchy, however, The Articles of Confederation should have remained intact without having to draft a parental Constitution. The 13 colonies should have remained 13 autonomous self-governing nation-states responsible for themselves WITHOUT a centralized Federal Government that dictates the terms and conditions of the internal workings of each colony, their relationship with each other, and other nations; which includes the Fed dictating what type of currency or payment they should use (merchants and patrons can decide that for themselves like grownups). This also includes what colony is FORCED to render what taxes to whom, border security, infrastructure, etc. In this unfortunate alternate reality of a confederation of 13 nation-states, the only caveat that they should ever have been united, albeit willingly, is if they shared a common invading foreign threat. Once the foreign threat was dispatched, the colonies would return as self-governing nations states that does not have to be forced to pay, via taxation, for a deficit that would not surprisingly grow into a military industrial complex. Go Freemasons!

  • Bill

    if i were a corrupt party leader the first thing i would do is rig elections, and make everyone think they really had power, so all outcomes were there fault. but what do i know, im just someone who doesn’t vote.

    • margaret bozza

      Bill start now. we need you now VOTE

  • http://suzeraining.wordpress.com/ suz

    wonder if there’s a modern film depicting shays’ rebellion — love to see that.

  • Eugenio Gonzalez

    Beautifully put. Thank you beck. This is so ironic and yet so full of truths.

  • Rhonda Kelley (nee Williams)

    if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

  • George Allegro

    While the actions available to states using democratic processes are restricted compared to those subjected to totalitarian regimes, the benefits of democratic methods are revealed over the long term.

  • George Allegro

    Each of us should remember that our mind is our sharpest sword. Hone your blade: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0094KY878

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