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Bacons Rebellion

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Submitted By dunk1n
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Kimberly Bailo
History
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Bacon's Rebellion Early in 1607, the English relocated to North America for promises of new beginnings, wealth, and religious freedom. The Virginia Company had funded the operation under a charter from King James 1 hoping for promising returns on their investment. The new colonists bright and hopeful settled in Jamestown, Virginia only to find nightmares instead of dreams. The conditions for the new colonists exploited a rising tension that would soon escalate into a famous revolt called Bacon's Rebellion. Jamestown was to be the new Promised Land for the English settlers. It was surrounded by water, which would provide protection and allow for mass trading due to the opportunity to install several ports. As such, the Virginia Company believed the expedition would be profitable and King James 1 saw an opportunity to convert the savages to Christian religion, which would make settling much easier since the heathens would be no more. Many of the settlers were not accustom to getting their hands dirty and came only to find gold and wealth quickly and easily. The tobacco industry became Jamestown's wealth, which required many hard working laborers. They were called indentured servants and promised land after seven years of hard work. In addition, many of the new colonists succumbed to malaria, dysentery, and unbearable working conditions. The women were subjected to sexual abuse along with harsh emotional and physical treatment. Furthermore, many of the women had perished even before arriving, which made the process of a growing population difficult. The final blow was that tobacco was the cash crop but the demand lowered because it was so plentiful and so did its price. This along with the increasing tension with the Indians was creating a perfect powder keg for dissention. The Powhatan tribe had been willing and open to helping and teaching the new settlers. Unfortunately, the colonist began exploiting the tribe and participating in unfair trade practices. The exploitive actions began to incense the Indians and Chief Opchancanough. This resulted in severe discord between the colonists and the Native Americans, but Sir William Berkeley and Nathanial Bacon would take this plight to another level. Sir William Berkeley was the first Governor of the new colony and the Kings favorite. He prided himself in being fair and wanted to maintain peace with the Native Americans. Nathanial Bacon, on the other hand, was a spoiled rich kid who was sent to Jamestown by his father to grow up. He became Berkeley's antagonist. As the conditions in the colonies worsened, they settlers needed to blame someone and so the Indians became the prime target. As Berkeley worked diligently to maintain peace and work on compromises with the natives as he set land aside for them. Bacon refused to listen, was outraged as he felt Berkeley's policies were unfair to the settlers, and favored the natives. As a result, the people became divided and started choosing sides. When the Susquehannock tribe attacked a plantation owner for cheating them out of a fair trade, Bacon had his motive to strike. He gathered supporters who were already disillusioned with the situation of the colony, and declared war on the Indians against Berkeley's decision. Bacon's group attacked the tribe taking the land they natives called home. Berkeley denounced the attacked and promised a full investigation, but no one was listening at this time. The Susquehannock were grievously outraged and sought allies as they planned and fulfilled their next attack on the colonists. Thirty-six Virginians were killed and Bacon was able to acquire more supporters from the incident. At the same time, Berkeley declared Bacon a rebel and sent out the militia sanctioned by the King to bring him back to face a trial. Bacon was able to escape and continued his attacks on local tribes. Berkeley began facing the hostility of his people. The colonists were angry at the amount of taxes, and the fact he and his good friends held the monopoly on the Native American trade. The people turned on Berkeley and demanded more government responsibility be held for the colonists. Berkeley continued on his endeavor to bring Bacon back to be held accountable for his actions. The British sent troops from England but found the rebels without a leader. Bacon had died of swamp fever and many of his supporters were gone. Berkeley angry and outraged hanged 23 of Bacon's followers without a trial. The rebellion added more hatred to the relationship between the colonists and the Native Americans. As time progressed, new generations carried the belief that the Indians should be removed and killed. The Virginians viewed the Indians as an unnecessary obstacle full of evil and savagery. A change in views began to take shape. The Native Americans were removed and much land was now available relieving tensions among the colonists. They were no longer fighting with each other as they had a common new enemy. As a result, discrimination against the Native Americans became a bonding force within the colony. Furthermore, the legalization of enslaving Native Americans provided a new laborer, relieving the indentured servants of their duties to a new freedom. Bacon's Rebellion was born initially out of bad conditions, fear, hunger and disgruntled workers. Eventually, it grew to be a struggle between the Governor and Bacon. The tensions between the two escalated an already volatile situation to disastrous. As a result, the Native Americans paid for the injustice of the abuse of power that occurred.…...

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