National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
Daniel Shays, a Revolutionary War captain, gave his name to the 1786-87 tax rebellion in western and central Massachusetts. Armed farmers, threatened with the loss of their farms and imprisonment for debt, forced the closing of the courts and marched upon the arsenal at Springfield. The militia was called out, the insurrection at length put down, most of the rebels pardoned (Shays fled to Vermont), and their grievances addressed by the state legislature. Most significantly, Shays's Rebellion frightened conservatives throughout the country and gave an urgency to the need for a stronger central government.