Why did Nathaniel Bacon believe his rebellion against the rulers of the Virginia Colony was justified?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Nathaniel Bacon's crusade was an indictment of the entire headright and indentured servitude systems.  With tobacco cultivation appearing to save the Virginia colony, wealthy planters wanted to take advantage of the strong market for tobacco.  The problem was that they did not have enough laborers for expanded production of the cash crop.  The headright system was an unfair exploitation of the working class.  Wealthy English aristocrats could pay for an indentured servant's trip to Virginia and the aristocrat would be rewarded with large tracts of land.  The indentured servant received little or nothing after the term of service was complete.  Looking for opportunities, the impoverished freemen headed to the west and the frontier where they intruded on Indian lands and were met with violence.  The governor, William Berkely needed the Indians as an ally in his lucrative fur-trading activities and was unwilling to protect the settlers from Indian attack.  Berkely believed this entire system to be unjust.  He also was angry that the freedmen were now paying taxes and not receiving adequate protection from the government they were paying taxes to.  

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team