In 1778, under pressure from farmers and towns in western Massachusetts, the provincial assembly submitted a constitution to the people. But the document was rejected because the legislature, rather than a special convention, drew up the document, and a popularly elected constitutional convention was called. John Adams dominated the gathering, and the finished document was largely his creation. It included a bill of rights, a system of checks and balances, and other provisions that would later be incorporated into the Constitution of the United States. The state constitution was accepted by the people in June 1780.
After the war, Massachusetts shared in the general economic depression that settled over the country. Merchant interests controlled the state legislature at the outset, and they passed high land taxes in an effort to pay off the war debts. The depression and the taxes hit the state’s western farmers hardest. In 1786 a war veteran named Daniel Shays led an unsuccessful armed rebellion, mainly of poor farmers who faced the possibility of losing their property and being imprisoned for debt. The rebels were defeated by the state militia, and most were eventually pardoned.
Shays’ Rebellion prompted tax reforms within the state, and along with other similar protests it stimulated support throughout the United States for a federal government strong enough to deal with such unrest.
In 1787 a convention drafted the Constitution of the United States. Massachusetts initially refused to ratify the Constitution unless a bill of rights similar to the state constitution’s was added, protecting the rights of individuals against government interference. But on February 6, 1788, Massachusetts ratified the constitution and became the sixth state to join the Union. The Bill of Rights was added to the U.S. Constitution in 1791. During the early years of the United States, Massachusetts supported the Federalist Party, which advocated a strong central government. Federalist John Adams was the nation’s first vice president and in 1797 became the second president of the United States. From 1807 to 1834 the governorship was split between the Federalists and the Democratic-Republican Party of Thomas Jefferson. Adams’s son, John Quincy Adams, served in the Massachusetts Senate and the U.S. Senate before becoming the nation’s sixth president in 1825. "Massachusetts" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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