Sabeena Jagdeo Nathaniel Bacon Nathaniel Bacon to the common eye “was a young bold active”(2) person who held great honor and esteem among the people”(2). He grew up in the Inns of court in England, and has been in Virginia only three years prior to his rebellion. He established a strong reputation amongst the townspeople, and was every way qualified to be part of the council. Nonetheless he is not all that he established himself to be.
Great question! I get the impression that Bacon was a spoiled brat who wanted to become powerful and rich. It appears that he wanted to increase his wealth with more land and the only way he could acquire this land was to eradicate the Indians. I assume that he resented the fact that Berkeley never fully accepted him into the elite inner circle. Bacon decided the way to gain power and to change the laws for his own advantage was to remove Berkeley and his supporters.
Bacon’s Rebellion is well known to students of colonial America, although no-one has succeeded in writing a convincing account of it. The first question historians asked was who was responsible for the widespread anarchy that followed the breakdown of government authority in the colony between 1676 and 1677. One historian attributes the rebellion to Nathaniel Bacon, and describes Governor Berkeley as a man doing his best to implement sensible policies. Another sees the Rebellion as prefiguring the American Revolution, with Bacon as an early George Washington, already defying British authority.
Times were much simpler, yet worse, in March 1610 as there were only about sixty of us colonial men left standing and we were lucky to even still be alive due to the high mortality rate. Fast forward forty years later, and now families have been shipping in by the thousands, although some do not last long due to lingering diseases. I have made an assumption that the water we have been drinking may be a cause of all the disease that is continuously being spread amongst the people, but people seem to be more focused on tobacco and the natives. However, priorities were not always based on tobacco, because before John Rolfe blessed the colony with his discoveries there was the issue of maintaining a stable society on this
Throughout history cultures have clashed many times. Whether it be because of land, industrialization, or race people have always found reasons to disagree with one another. John Smith’s writing “The General History of Virginia” shows a dominant culture coming in contact with a less developed culture, dehumanizing them and uplifted John Smith in order to take control of the people. Smith, an influential member of society and founder of Jamestown, wrote his text in 1624, seventeen years after the events had occurred. He is also known to have embellished his story to make himself appear more substantial.
In Bacon’s “Manifesto” where he justifies his rebellion against Governor Berkeley, he says, “Let truth be bold and all the world know the real foundations of pretended guilt… Let us trace… [the] men in authority and favor to whose hands the dispensation of the countr[y’s] wealth has been committed.” (Document H) All-in-all, Bacon was dissatisfied with Governor
The tobacco plant was introduced to the colonists by the Native Americans. The concept of smoking a plant was unusual for the colonists until they first tried it. It became a popular and important commodity when the colonists realized trading tobacco was lucrative. Their attitude towards tobacco turned from joyful and curious to greedy and avaricious since it was bankable, benefiting both the North American and English economies. The landowners took advantage of the indentured servants, slaves and farmers.
King Philips War and Bacon’s Rebellion were two pivotal points in early American history. Ironically, they both shared many similarities between them. There are three main points of discussion in comparison of the two conflicts: 1) why the fighting started, 2) what they were fighting over, and finally 3) who they were fighting against. Each of these conflicts resulted in tragic loss of many lives of settlers and Indians and caused even more tension between the English and the Native Americans.
Those in Massachusetts were puritans and looking for a place where they would be free from religious persecution. Wealthy people who could afford the boat journey and did not have to become indentured slaves went for a more settled life. In 1616 John Rolfe imported tobacco seeds to Virginia, as the plants needed long and hot humid seasons. The first people who were granted the right of possessing land authorized the people to cultivate worn out land and grow better crops, as tobacco depletes minerals and nutrients from the ground.
In Virginia, they started off in Jamestown, where people did not know anything about farming. Since little people knew how to plant they started to die from starvation. Many of the colonists lead to eating things like snakes, rats, and even their own boots. At this point the only thing they could think of the way to use the Natives. They forced the Natives to grow crops for them so they could once again stabilize.
In Virginia, people mostly focused on growing of staples and exotic crops for cash. The crops that they grew in their colony were rice, indigo, and tobacco. But in Virginia, tobacco was the crop that they focused on, in fact, tobacco was the first most famous staple crop grown and became their economic foundation. As far as working in the fields, Virginia started off with indentured servants to perform the labor, but as they became expensive they shifted to purchasing slaves. Mortality rates were higher because of diseases that many of them came in contact with, men were expected to live to forty and women weren’t expected to live past their thirties.
After the Spanish made some fortunate discoveries in South America, the English were determined to strike gold in the north, however, they would soon find out that this “new country” was not so perfect. In the Spring of 1607, about 100 colonists sailed to North America and created an English settlement called Jamestown (Roden 49). Upon their arrival, they discovered that Jamestown was home to some 1500 Powhatan Indians, and, because the colonists didn’t bring the right people to defend themselves from Indian attacks, many people died (Roden 49). The colonist also didn’t bring enough people to ward off disease, drought, or famine.
Nathaniel Bacon is one of the few rebellious people whose name has been taught from school to school in America. “Why is that?” , you may ask, “Why him? Why is his rebellion significant in American history?”. Bacon’s rebellion used to be seen as the start of the American Revolution, but now, modern historians have uncovered the truth of the Virginian Rebellion of 1676.
Virginia was facing many social issues with the emergence of a ruling class. For that reason, Bacon was able to gain support from disgruntled poor whites and indentured blacks. Bacon led a campaign against the Indians and the Virginia government with his militia of lower class citizens. 2. This document was signed during this organized rebellion on July 30, 1676.