Reading the riot act: Rhetoric, psychology, and counter-revolutionary discourse in Shays's Rebellion, 1786-1787

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Abstract

In 1786, backcountry Massachusetts farmers, fed up with government policies favoring aristocratic elites, marched on courts to bar the entry of judges and juries. Enacting a long-standing tradition known to colonists as a "Regulation," the farmers' movement became known as Shays's Rebellion. Erupting in the turbulent days following the War for Independence, yet predating the formation of the national Constitution, Shays's Rebellion was understood as a crucial post-war attempt to deploy state violence to manage popular dissent; thus, Shays's Rebellion produced deeply problematic yet lasting rhetorical conventions for justifying the compromised forms of republicanism that mark the early republic.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)63-88
Number of pages26
JournalQuarterly Journal of Speech
Volume91
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Communication
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Education

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