The Articles of Confederation worked well in the face of a foreign enemy but was revealed to be too weak to deal with a 1786 event called Shays’ Rebellion. The state of Massachusetts had been making unrealistic demands of farmers, many of whom had been poorly compensated for their service in the revolutionary war. Those farmers rebelled against the state government. When the rebels planned to attack a confederation armory, Congress had no resources to stop it. Instead, Congress had to rely on the Massachusetts governor to raise his own militia to end the rebellion. The powerlessness of Congress under the Articles of Confederation convinced many of the men who would become our Constitution’s framers that the Articles of Confederation needed to be reformed or replaced.
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Image: Proclamation by the State of Pennsylvania seeking capture of Daniel Shays.