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Nathaniel Bacon Essay

One historian has remarked that Bacon’s Rebellion was “a rebellion with abundant causes but without a cause.” Do you agree? What were the causes of Bacon’s Rebellion? Did Nathaniel Bacon have a cause? Did William Berkeley?

In 1676, Nathaniel Bacon marched into Jamestown, Virginia alongside 600 men ready to fight, demanding a military commission. After threatening William Berkeley, the Governor of Virginia and Nathaniel’s own cousin, Bacon was given a military commission. “In the following months, Bacon’s men waged brutal war against the Indians, turned their guns on Berkeley’s government, forced it to flee Jamestown, and burned the colony’s capital to the ground” (Hollitz, 19).

I do not agree with this historian because some of Bacon’s causes for rebellion were important enough to the people living in Virginia to want changes. Taxes began to rise on tobacco, salaries of the government officials began to increase, and no servants were selected to the council after 1640. In 1675 colonists ordered Governor Berkeley to return with an army after killings by the Indians alongside the Fall Line (The line marking the waterfalls of nearly parallel rivers). In March of 1676 the representatives announced war on “all such Indians who … shall be discovered to have committed murders … and depredation” (Hollitz, 23).

Trading with Indians was also now illegal which placed even more economic stress on those traders that needed Indian products to survive. Nathaniel Bacon had a cause for the rebellion after one of his supervisors was killed in a Susquehanna attack. Berkeley’s main reason for being against Bacon’s Rebellion was because he worked out an arrangement in 1644 to avoid conflicts with the Native Americans. In exchange for a large piece of land, he agreed to keep settlers from pushing farther into their lands. After Bacon’s death on October 26, 1676 his rebellion began to decease and everything was eventually restored back to order.

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