, uprising in Massachusetts in 1786 and 1787 caused by excessive land taxation, high legal costs, and economic depression following the American Revolution (1775-1783). The insurgents, who were mainly poor farmers, were led by Daniel Shays, a former captain in the American army.
They demanded protective legislation, the abolition of the court of common pleas, and reduced taxes. In 1786 Shays and his followers broke up a session of the state supreme court. In January 1787 they marched into the city of Springfield to seize the federal arsenal but were repulsed by militia. The rebels fled and were finally defeated.