Governor William Berkeley

Alison Stonecipher, Siddhardha Gudavalli and Drew McAdams

Early Life

  • Studied at Oxford

  • Close with British King, Berkley was one of the kings favorite

  • Grew up in England with a wealthy family

Contributions to colonial development/independence

  • Governor William Berkeley became the governor of Virginia in 1641 when the colony was struggling. He managed to turn the colony around through his leadership, promotion of trade between colonies and his goal of economic diversity.

  • He allowed for other traders to participate in the Indian Trade which he had the opportunity to hold a monopoly on.

  • At his own personal farm, Green Spring, he conducted many agricultural experiments to diversify the agriculture/ economy. During his second governing term he tried in implement his research in the colony with all the farmers but failed due to uneducated and poor farmers not willing to pay the higher taxes caused by this experiment.

  • As governor he willingly shared power allowing for the House of Burgesses to become a small version of the parliament, causing the elite class (called tidewater aristocrats) to become over powerful with both money and government power.

  • During his second term as governor, he slowly started to lose close followers from his inner circle in the colonial government but stayed governor until Bacon's rebellion.

  • Bacon's Rebellion caused by disagreement over Indians (this being to final straw)

  • Berkeley had not dealt with Indian attacks well.

  • So, Nathaniel Bacon lead a 500 person group of fighters to control Virginia and fight the Indians.

  • England sent a 1000 soldiers to fight, but William Berkeley had already defeated them.

Political Affiliations

  • Berkeley was hostile to Puritans and Quakers. He punished preachers who didn't follow the Church of England.

  • He opposed all public education because he did not see the benifits.

  • He supported an economy that was diversified from tobacco and free trade.

  • Berkeley also wanted autonomy for Virginia. This meant he wanted Virginia to be self Governed.
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Integrity is the adherence to a strict code of morals and ethics. Though the vast majority of Governor William Berkeley's ideas on the success of Virginia were wrong, he did demonstrate integrity. Throughout Berkeley's carreer as the Governor of Virginia, he steadily campaigned for maintaining peace with the Natives. Although he could have given in to all those who wanted violence against the Natives, he kept to a strict moral code and sought peace instead. Another way in which Berekeley demonstrated integrity was through obedience to his King. When Governor Samuel Mathews passed away, Charles II asked Berkeley to come out of retirement. Berkeley followed Charles II's orders with a willing spirit and revamped his plans for the success of Virginia. Therefore, Berkeley demonstrated integrity with his loyalty to his country.
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Citizenship is the act of being a good and responsible citizen in society. Governor William Berkeley displayed citizenship throughout both of his terms as the governor of Virginia. Berkeley always strived for what he thought was right for Virginia even if there was opposition in England. Berkeley wanted success for his people and he would do anything to achieve that. Berkeley tried to fulfill his responsibility to Virginia through his ideas like starting a diversified economy and promotion of trade between colonies. Therefore, Berkeley displayed great Citizenship to Virginia.

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Bacon's Rebellion - 5 Minute History lesson - Quick Summary

Work cited

- rd. "William Berkeley (governor) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia."Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Aug. 2013. <>.

-"Jamestown Interpretive Essays - Sir William Berkeley." Virtual Jamestown. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Aug. 2013. <>.

-"Sir William Berkeley." Library of Virginia. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Aug. 2013. <>.