Describe Bacon’s Rebellion.

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Bacon’s Rebellion was a rebellion against the government of Virginia in 1676.  It was largely caused by class tensions between the various parts of Virginia society.

In general, the problem was that there were fewer opportunities for free white people in the fertile areas along the coast.  The large planters had bought up all of the most fertile lands in this area.  They pushed the price of land up and forced poorer people, among them the indentured servants who had served their time and were now free, to either become their tenants or go off to the frontier to find land that they could afford.  This caused tensions between classes of whites and put more whites in areas where they would come into conflict with the Native Americans.

It was conflict with Native Americans that brought about the rebellion.  Fighting erupted in 1675 between frontier whites and Native Americans.  The whites wanted the government to help them fight, but the governor did not want to jeopardize relations with the Native Americans since he had lucrative trade relations with them.  This infuriated the poorer whites of the backcountry and they rose up in rebellion.  Although they were led by Nathaniel Bacon who was himself rich, they were generally poorer people and their targets were the Indians and the rich planter elites from the coast.

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