June 18

Ep. 0065: Revolutionary Aftershocks Part I: Shays’ Rebellion

Every revolution produces people (generally of the lower ranks within the revolutionary faction) who take the rhetoric & supposed ideology of the revolution at face value and expect that rhetoric & ideology to actually apply to them.  But every revolution also produces people (generally of the elite within the revolutionary faction) who really just want to be the “new boss” and, as a result, are often willing to blatantly violate the stated ideals of the revolution they were ostensibly leading.

Here we see this phenomenon in regards to the aftermath of the American Revolution, and two oft-overlooked ‘rebellions’ in early post-Independence History — Shays’ Rebellion of the 1780s and the Whiskey Rebellion of the 1790s.  This episode will cover Shays’ Rebellion, and next episode will cover the Whiskey Rebellion.

Join Prof CJ as he discusses:

  • The concept of Thermidor and how the things we’re talking about in this episode (plus the writing & ratification of the Constitution, which we’re not getting into in great detail here, & the Whiskey a Rebellion we’re covering next time) constituted Thermidor for the (partial as it was) American Revolution
  • Shays’ Rebellion, from its origins through its suppression and aftermath
  • How the Rebellion added impetus to those pushing for a bigger, stronger federal government (eventually called “Federalists”) and how the Federalists’ victory with the US Constitution set the stage for the next Revolutionary Aftershock, the Whiskey Rebellion, which we’ll cover next episode

External Links

Prof CJ’s Picks (buy anything from Amazon via these links to help support the show at no additional cost to you)

Copyright © 2014. All rights reserved.

Posted June 18, 2015 by profcj in category "American History", "Podcasts


  1. By Andrew on

    Excellent episode. Lots of detail and very thorough.

  2. By Lousander on

    I was surprised to learn an Sam Adams being a statist when it comes to “the republic” during Shay’s Rebellion. I probably should not have been shocked at all. The radicals always become the conservatives the day after the revolution.
    Perhaps there needs to be a special podcast category for guys like Sam Adams. DHP Frenemies.

    1. By profcj (Post author) on

      Not a bad idea. There are a lot of Frenemies in US history. Thomas Jefferson and James Madison come to mind – guys who often sounded great when out of power (such as in 1798), but who didn’t stick to principles once in power.

      What used to shock me (till I just got acclimated to it) is how many people out there still look for some politician to ride in on the white horse to save them, when we have so many examples of them utterly failing (or, more often, not even trying) to take a stand against the more egregious abuses of the state once they’re the one wearing the Ring of Power.

      1. By Lousander on

        The deification of the Founding Lawyers is amazing. Instead of Greek Gods like Zeus, Hercules, and Thor, we have Jefferson, Madison, and Washington. Even with the commonly known scumbaggery like the Whiskey Tax that led to the Whiskey Rebellion, people do mental gymnastics to defend and justify the scumbaggery. And when less common scumbaggery is brought up, there is a complete rejection of it even being possible.
        The parchment worship is a whole other bit of religiosity that lacks sense. The head of Campaign for a tiny bit more Liberty wrote an article warning of the dangers of the Article Five Convention citing the shenanigans of the Coup of 1787 and the very next line was, “And we are blessed to have this constitution.” It appears that John Adams was not the only one afflicted with the Appeal to Magic Parchment Syndrome. Presumably, he actually read the whole thing. I can’t say the same for the modern constitution lickers.
        At any rate, Constitutions are the suicide notes of once free people.

  3. By jeff on

    What a nice reward from your country, don’t get paid for your service as a foot soldier in the army, and then be forced to pay for a war that was run very inefficiently, not by militia. Then, the officers and higher rank military not only get paid but get dandy pensions to boot. Doesn’t it remind of our current politicians ? The events they don’t teach us, how convenient!

    1. By profcj (Post author) on

      Yep, I think a lot of the time the things left out of the narrative are deliberately, strategically omitted. If the livestock classes learned the whole story of history, they might get wise to how the farmers operate (which wouldn’t be too difficult since the basics of their playbook are mostly the same from century to century), and if the livestock ever figured out the playbook, it’s game over for the farmers.

      Till the livestock get wise, the song will remain the same.

  4. By Shocktroop0351 on

    Thanks for such an interesting podcast, you hooked me with your discussions with Bill Buppert, and I thought I would go back and listen to previous episodes. I will be subscribing and recommending. I find this idea of Thermidor very interesting. I have always thought our culture moves like a pendulum as well, and the thought occurred to me that perhaps we are starting to see the beginnings of Thermidor in our own society? That perhaps the cultural revolution that started in the 60’s has perhaps started swinging too far to the left so to speak and now we are starting to see the beginnings of resistance to it? The old rebels have become the new tyrants and (some) people aren’t falling for it? I wouldn’t be bit surprised to see that if I (a liberty minded combat veteran of recent experience) could go back and talk ideas with some of the hippies from the 60’s I would feel more in common with them than the current rulers. Sorry to ramble a little, it’s just an interesting thought to me. Thanks again for your show and your hard work in making it.

    1. By profcj (Post author) on

      Thanks for your kind words, I’m glad you like the show. Your comments are thought-provoking. I think you’ll like episode 67.

      Interestingly, I once heard Bill Buppert say something to the effect that he’s really a hippie at heart in a lot of ways, despite his clean-cut appearance.

  5. Pingback: Convince Yourself Media

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.