John Hancock's Rebellion

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The Massachusetts government arrested many Shaysites for treason, but was later forced to pardon all but two because so many people had been involved. Massachusetts’ new governor, John Hancock, realized he could not punish such a large number of citizens without instigating further restlessness. So many insurgents had been involved that the government was forced to let most of them off without penalty. Starkey reveals one of the many lessons of the rebellion: “Government was not to be amended by force of arms. The inefficacy of that kind of textual criticism had been amply proved, and there must be no more rebellions. But now that this one was over, why perpetuate its spirit by creating martyrs for an ill-conceived cause?”[22]
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