Did the American Revolution make ordinary working people happy? How did their inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness change in the immediate aftermath of the war? In this talk’s first half University of Maryland historian Richard Bell focuses on working white people in port cities like Boston, New York, and Philadelphia and asks whether post-war peace eased the economic hardships and insecurities the conflict itself had brought on and whether the end of the fighting ushered in a new economic order in which people on the bottom could not only pursue prosperity but actually achieve it. Then, in the talk’s second half, we pivot to examine the postwar struggles of rural folk, the farmers who accounted for the majority of America’s white population. Our mission is to get to the bottom of Daniel Shays’ Rebellion, a 1786 uprising by 2,200 western farmers and veterans to overthrow the Massachusetts government and burn Boston to the ground.