Bacon's Rebellion

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How did Bacon's Rebellion affect the colonies?

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In 1676, several colonists led by Nathaniel Bacon rebelled against the rule of elite governor William Berkeley of the Virginia colony. The colonists were unhappy with colonial rule, including prohibitions on their westward movement into land inhabited by Native Americans. The rebellion united restive white indentured servants with black slaves, and, though colonial rule was restored, the rebellion alarmed the authorities. In response, authorities in Virginia and other southern colonies decided to institute a harsher, stricter color line that divided white indentured servants from black slaves. In this way, they hoped to make sure that these forces did not unite again to challenge elite white rule. By incorporating poor whites into the power structure by making them superior to blacks, white elites hoped to diffuse the potential challenge from the solidarity between poor whites and blacks.

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