Bacon's Rebellion

Virginia 1676

Thesis Statement

Bacon's rebellion, which took place in the Virginia colony of Jamestown, had a significant impact on america, which is shown through the removal of Governor Berkeley from his position, the burning of Jamestown, and the eventual defeat of the rebellion.
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Governor Berkeley was removed from office

One of the major events in Bacon's rebellion was the removal of governor Berkeley from his position of power. This began when Bacon, a militia leader, was refused commission for his role, and began to take violent action against the native population, who had become scapegoats for the colonists problems. Bacon led several men in raids on Natives, who were typically mistaken for other Natives, and tensions between the colonists and the government of Virginia rose, with the latter struggling to try and keep peace with the natives. Despite offering a pardon if he turned himself in, Bacon did not cease, and eventually was elected to the house of Burgesses by his supporters. Whilst at the House, a heated argument broke out about the Natives, and Bacon left in a rage. He soon returned with other colonists and threatened to kill Berkeley. Berkeley famously responded, "Here shoot me before God, fair mark shoot.", which is depicted in the image above. Bacon did not shoot, but rather threatened to kill other members of the house instead, and once again demanded his commission. The governor was forced to oblige, and thus his political power was shattered, and Bacon took control of Jamestown.
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Burning of Jamestown

With Bacon's rebellion in full swing now, colonists rallied to their now apparent leader of Jamestown, and the colony of Virginia. Soon after Berkeley's submission, he realized the fault of his actions, and branded Bacon a traitor. He attempted to rally a force of his own in order to combat Bacon's, but failed and fled. He eventually gained enough support to retake Jamestown, but Bacon quickly regained control over the settlement, though at a heavy cost. Bacon assumed that Berkeley would soon return with another force to retake the town, and he feared that he wouldn't be able to defend against another attack. Therefore, he resorted to burning down Jamestown as a further attempt to ensure his rebellion. This was the third time Jamestown had burned, and when governor Berkeley returned to the town, he described the scene as needing to be completely rebuilt.
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Defeat of the Rebellion

Despite his best efforts, and the fact that his rebellion was in full swing, Bacon died of Dysentery in 1676, and his followers seemed to lose their will. John Ingram took control of the rebellion, but he could not inspire the colonist like Bacon could. Berkeley seized his opportunity and launched several attacks, and the rebellion quickly fell apart. He promised amnesty to the rebels if they surrendered, and they willingly did so. However, there were about 20 rebels who defied the king still, and they were all tried and hanged by Berkeley. As a result of the rebellion, the colonists of america began to question the ability for laborers to be contained, and people began to look for means of labor through slavery. Therefore, Bacon's rebellion is often credited for the shift from indentured servitude from England to slavery from Africa.
Bacon's Rebellion