• View of Springfield Armory overlooking the city of Springfield, 1855

    Springfield Armory

    National Historic Site Massachusetts

Rebellion at the Springfield Arsenal

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Date: December 17, 2012
Contact: Richard Colton, (413) 734-8551 x223

SPRINGFIELD, MA: Springfield Armory National Historic Site commemorates the anniversary of the failed January 1787 attempt by armed rebels to seize the Springfield Arsenal during Shays's Rebellion, one of the most significant and tragic moments in the history of the United States.Park Ranger Richard Colton will introduce visitors to Daniel Shays and his rebels. The program will take place in the Museum theatre on Saturday, January 26, 2013 from 1:30pm to 3:00pm and admission is free.

Like so many others after the Revolutionary War, Daniel Shays struggled to support his family as Massachusetts imposed heavy fees and tax burdens on its citizens in order to pay its war debt. After a protracted effort to correct the injustices they experienced, Shays and others, many of them recently-returned veterans, attempted to storm and occupy the Springfield Arsenal. The rebellion that bears his name ended in loss of life and near disaster for the new Commonwealth. Out of the bloodshed and anger, however, came a strengthened central government and national constitution as cooler heads realized how close the new nation came to anarchy.

When we think of Daniel Shays's Rebellion today, it reminds us of current ramifications for our lives as the country strives to balance individual freedoms with consideration for all citizens. Ranger Colton will contemplate these and other intriguing matters with his discussions with visitors.

Springfield Armory National Historic Site commemorates and preserves the site of our Nation's first armory, established in 1794. A computer kiosk features the history of Shays's Rebellion. The site is open daily, 9am-5pm. Admission is free. For information call 413-734-8551 or check www.nps.gov/spar.

- NPS -

Did You Know?

Charles Dickens, 1842. Photograph © Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Author Charles Dickens toured Springfield Armory’s Hill Shops and Water Shops on his 30th birthday, February 7th, 1842, a year before publication of A Christmas Carol. The first of two visits to America, he and his wife were accompanied by the superintendent and the paymaster. Photograph © Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.