Bacon’s Revolt

The economic conditions for a landless man and small planter were in rapid decline at the end of 17th century. In addition, high prices for tobacco and increased taxes due to the Anglo-Dutch Wars incited colonists in Virginia to the armed clashes. Furthermore, another reason for Bacon’s Rebellion was a disagreement about the way of solving a conflict between Native Americans and the settlers (Rise, 2014). In fact, people waited for the governor’s actions, but he wanted cooperation with “neighbor Indians” and signed profitable contracts with them (Rise, 2014, p. 730). However, Berkeley convened the Long Assembly in March 1676 that declared war against Native Americans and built the protective line around Virginia (Rise, 2014). In fact, the costs of this line had to be covered by the locals, who viewed the new policy of the governor as an attempt to protect himself and his close circle. Thus, Bacon’s Rebellion became the result of both Virginians’ assault on the resting Susquehannock hunters and a long history of war with Native Americans that made the Susquehannocks the most serious enemy that the Virginians had faced in more than 30 years (Rise, 2014).

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As a result, Bacon led the volunteer army to fight against Native Americans. However, Berkeley did not recognize his authority, and Bacon decided to act alone. On June 23, the insurgent squad went to Jamestown with the requirements to start a full-scale war with Native Americans and not to prosecute the rebellion before the king. General Assembly under Bacon’s control passed a law, according to which the privileged strata of the population had to pay taxes on an equal basis with all people. Moreover, there were other acts known as “Laws of Bacon,” for instance, concerning sheriffs’ holding office for more than a year running. On September 18, Bacon organized an assault on Jamestown (Rise, 2014). The governor was forced to leave his residence again, but after some time, he restored the power in the region. However, the governor succeeded because of Bacon’s sudden illness and death, after which the movement disintegrated. In fact, this revolt ended with a huge numbers of casualties on each side. There were many victims among the rebels, government troops, and Native Americans (Rise, 2014). Eventually, metropolitan troops entered the city and restored the order, and Bacon’s laws were repealed. In addition, the commissioners from England removed Berkeley from power who returned to England afterward. Moreover, the rebellion undermined the Native Americans’ forces in terms of the future attacks. In general, the uprising did not change the state of affairs in Virginia, but it was important for the whole of North America. The colonists removed a viceroy by the collective efforts of the population. The revolt was supported by the neighboring colonies and, therefore, reflected the general discontent of the settlers with the Restoration policy (Rise, 2014).

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In the second half of the 17th century, English colonists actively explored new lands between the Atlantic coast and the Appalachian Mountains (Rise, 2014). In fact, their relationship with indigenous peoples became more intense. Moreover, they sought to get more land; therefore, local population started to mount resistance. The growing hostility between the two sides soon transformed into armed clashes. The first major event happened in 1675 when local Native Americans attacked a plantation and the settlers killed several of their leaders (Rise, 2014). In addition, the tobacco prices were high, and the conditions of work were poor. Thus, the struggle for land, economic crisis, and climate issues contributed to the development of the conflict.

Furthermore, the authorities tried to increase profitability at any cost: such philosophy and attitude toward the citizens was one of the reasons for the rebellion. The governor was a selfish man who did not take into account the social situation. However, Nathaniel Bacon was also selfish in this regard accusing Native Americans of all issues when they simply defended their land. Moreover, Bacon pursued selfish purposes and wanted power. On the other hand, he fought for a better life for both himself and his community, which prompted the contemporary society to fight for their rights.

 In my opinion, Bacon’s rebellion changed the attitude of the authorities toward people in North America and became a harbinger of future battles. In fact, the elite of many regions understood that the resistance of colonists could reach a high level. However, the conflict in this situation was inevitable because the society’s order was on the verge of failure. Furthermore, people were discontent with their economic status, and the armed attacks merely exhausted their patience. Nevertheless, the government could have avoided huge numbers of casualties if they had provided adequate standards of living. In fact, this event was very costly in terms of material resources as well as the human ones.

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To conclude, Bacon’s Rebellion was one of the most important and bloody events of the 17th century. The main reasons for the rebellion were lack of work, high prices, and tax inequality. Moreover, the critical issue concerning Native Americans affected this rebellion too. Bacon spoke against Governor William Berkeley, and his first campaign was successful. Colonists established new laws that were aimed at creating equality in the society. However, after Bacon’s unexpected death, rebellion was quickly suppressed. In fact, the revolt was inevitable though the authorities could have avoided such heavy casualties. The philosophy of Nathaniel Bacon influenced the modern society and encouraged it to fight for equal rights.

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