The Potomac Country

373 Words2 Pages
pennsylvania history 306 militias and Susquehannock Indians in 1675, it proceeds through severalstages: Nathaniel Bacon’s mobilization of extralegal volunteers, GovernorBerkeley’s denunciation of these rebels, and the outbreak of full-scale civilwar. Rice summarizes important background information in expositoryasides, which connect his narrative to the broader social, economic, politi-cal, and diplomatic questions of the day. He places particular emphasis onthe class conflict between wealthy planters and poor settlers, as well as theincreasingly precarious position of Native Americans in the Chesapeake.But Rice focuses on the storytelling, moving rapidly through the unfoldingevents. As might be expected from the author of Nature and History in the Potomac Country…show more content…
His argument, clearly articulated in the afterword, is that Bacon’sRebellion served as the first act in a longer drama that did not reach its cli-max until the Glorious Revolution. Successive crises between 1675 and 1689were fueled by the same underlying factors, which Rice refers to as unresolved“dilemmas” that produced “dramatic tension” (211). Restive colonists inVirginia and Maryland faced one dilemma, struggling to assert their rightsas Englishmen in an increasingly repressive regime controlled by wealthyoligarchs. Native Americans faced another dilemma, struggling to surviveEnglish territorial expansion and the escalating violence of the Indian slavetrade. Colonial leaders attempted to strike a balance between the demands of their English subjects and their Indian allies, but ultimately found this to beimpossible. For example, Berkeley’s efforts to protect friendly Indians—who,suspiciously enough, were his partners in the growing fur and slave
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