What kind of society did Sir William Berkeley envision for Virginia?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Sir William Berkeley was the governor of Virigina from 1642 to 1652 and then again from 1660 until his death in 1677.  During this time, he wanted very much to remake Virginia into an autonomous society which had a more diversified economy.

Virginia, of course, was heavily dependent on tobacco.  Berkeley wanted to remedy this situation.  He wanted to create a society that would be autonomous from England.  In order to create this society he wanted free trade (as opposed to the mercantilist system that was in place).  He also wanted a local assembly that would have complete autonomy over local issues.  Finally, he wanted Virginians to raise a wider variety of crops so that their economy would not depend so much on tobacco.

On the whole, Berkeley was not particularly successful in achieving any of these goals.  He is best known to history as the governor at the time of Bacon's Rebellion.

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