Virginia 1676

Bacon's Rebellion


Virginia, as you may recall, was a part of the middle colonies, more specific the Chesapeake region. The middle colonies were more focused on economic development rather than religious freedom, which they still offered. Due to this economic promise, there were many settlers coming into the Chesapeake region, as Tobacco was especially profitable. Because of this rapid growth, land became scarce, land for wealthy land owners, farmers and the local natives. Due to Native's loss of land, they attacked the frontiers, in which many settlers were killed and or wounded. Nathaniel Bacon, saw this and was compelled to take action to to the Governor's lack of protection towards the frontiersmen. The governor was slow to defend his citizens due to the Indian fur trade in which he monopolized. Nathaniel Bacon was not impressed with the governor's motives and his lack of protection.


A combination of the previous events led to the Colonies's first ever rebellion. A group of farmers, slaves and indentured servants elected Bacon as their leader, after he distributed brandy. Bacon and his men attacked several native groups, and upon returning home, found the the governor had called for new elections to the Burgesses to better control the natives, which limited the powers of the governor and restored suffrage rights to landless free men. After the passage of the laws, Bacon and 500 followers stormed Jamestown for a commission to lead malitia against the Natives, the governor refused, and after some motivation, the house agreed. Later that July Bacon issued the "Declaration of the People of Virginia" in which critisized the Governor for charging unfair taxes, favoring his friends and failing to protect the frontier. Bacon and his men then started to drive Berekely out of Virginia, burning down Jamestown in the process. After Bacon's sudden death due to dysenetry, the rebellion fell apart, however after the rebellion the Governor was recalled back to England.


The first rebellion in the Colonies left numerous effects on Colonial society. Immediate impacts of the rebellion include a strengthened the racial standards of slavery, which further oppressed and discriminated against indentured servants and African slaves. Another immediate impact was that governor Berkeley was recalled back to England, which through time set an example that oppressive leaders could be replaced. This idea was used in the colonies throughout time. Also the "Declaration of the People of Virginia" unified many colonists throughout colonial times, and was often looked upon during testing times. The rebellion also strained relations between the lower and upper classes and helped distinguish the colonists into the Loyalist and future patriots. To conclude, the Bacon Rebellion was the beginning of a more unified colonial society who were not afraid to express their views and beliefs in the face of a strong father country, such as England.