Today we take for granted that governments elected by the people can be stable, long lasting, and effective.
But the Americans in the new nation were not so sure, given the lessons of history.
D) wealthy national leaders were out of touch with the needs of the people. Washington and other national leaders were greatly concerned that Shays’ Rebellion was exposing a weakness in the Articles of Confederation— namely that they weakened the union by limiting the role of the central government.
As expressed in the quote Lincoln provides in his letter, Washington worried that the work of the Revolution would be undone by the civil unrest in Massachusetts.
In 1789, the United States was the only large republic in the world; the others were a handful of small city-states scattered in Europe, and none of the larger republics in the history of the world had lasted very long.
Like the ancient republic of Rome, they had collapsed and reverted to some form of tyranny, usually by a military dictator.
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1786-1787: Shays’ rebels protest, shut down courts, and attack the Springfield arsenal While unsuccessful in its aim to overthrow the Massachusetts government, Shays’ Rebellion had a lasting effect on the nation.
Already unsatisfied with the Articles of Confederation, national leaders were troubled by the rebellion, seeing it as further evidence of the confederation’s weakness.