Western Massachusetts in the Revolution

Western Massachusetts in the Revolution

Western Massachusetts in the Revolution

Western Massachusetts in the Revolution

Excerpt

COLONIAL histories of Massachusetts have been almost exclusively concerned with the eastern part of the state, for it was Boston and surrounding towns which provided the early Puritan leaders and brilliant Revolutionary thinkers. The west receives practically no attention until the time of Shays' Rebellion; yet both before and after the Revolution, Western Massachusetts supplied some of the most important political leaders of Massachusetts. The west has always resented the notion that it is merely the tail to the Boston kite. It has insisted upon its uniqueness and its separate importance. In the eighteenth century especially, the western part of the state was a recognized force in Massachusetts politics. Until 1774, old Hampshire County figured largely in the political plans of the royal governors. During the Revolution, the two western counties demonstrated, to the dismay of eastern leaders, that they had a mind of their own, for they determined to see realized in Massachusetts the Revolutionary principles which patriots had urged against British oppression -- even if they had to secede to do so. After the Revolution, western farmers agitated the whole state with conventions and tumults, culminating in Shays' Rebellion, until even Samuel Adams lost patience. Money furnished by eastern rich men supplied the troops which quelled the western Rebellion, and the ratification and implementation of the Federal Constitution at last made property secure. Any account of Massachusetts history which neglects the role of the western part of the state can be only half a tale.

This study concerns itself primarily with political and economic developments in Western Massachusetts during and after the American Revolution. Besides narrating some of the major events, it attempts to describe the contribution or reaction of the western towns and their leaders to the larger issues of the day. For better perspective, it gives some account of events like the Land Bank struggle and . . .

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