Thesis- Disregarding the popular speculation of Bacon's Rebellion's unanimous origin, there were four overall factors that provoked the event.
-The extremely low price of tobacco was a primary issue in Bacon’s Rebellion that correlated with commerce and even land/territorial issues.
a. Prices for tobacco decreased significantly as there was much more supply than demand, causing rapid deflation.
1. (Roland Merchand). A Documentary Source Problem- “Due to a substantial growth in production…tobacco prices were depressed after 1670 and took an even sharper down-turn in 1675”
b .Because of low prices, colonists forced to grow more tobacco selling it for lesser prices.
1. (Roland Merchand). A Documentary Source Problem- “Virginians were growing more, but forced to sell less”
c. Planters failed to find fair prices in exchange of tobacco for goods.
1. (Robert Beverly- Document one pg 6.)
d. From agricultural standpoint, tobacco exhausted land very swiftly enticing colonists in obtaining unaltered land in frontiers.
1. (Roland Merchand). A Documentary Source Problem- “Tobacco growing, as practiced in the 17th century, exhausted the soil in only a few years, so planters were constantly concerned about opportunities for expansion into the virgin lands on the frontier”
- Led to settlers being pushed out & encroaching Indian Land, which led to natives defending their land through violent actions.
e. Virginian colonists unable to expand without consent of English monarch King Charles II. (who theoretically owned land)
1. (Roland Merchand). A Documentary Source Problem “…But that land was in the hands of the King, Charles II, far away in England.”
-The division of the Virginia colonies into separate entities was also a benefactor to the progression of Bacon’s Rebellion.
a. The separation of the colonies opposed the original Virginia Charters.
1. Information is yet to be located
- Opposition to the original charters reciprocated consequences from England
b. Grandees or social elite received special privileges from king & governor angering the commoners.
- Top 5% of Wealthy colonists/ rulers owned most of the land
1. (Roland Merchand). A Documentary Source Problem- “He often gave huge tracts to his court favorites in London or to the friends of his Royal Governor in Jamestown, Virginia's capital. Also, many of these wealthy people were exempt from land taxes, to the annoyance of poorer American farmers who had to pay them.”
- Commoners were left to pay highest taxes that the wealthy Grandees were exempt from by local Colonial rule.
c. The Huge gap/separation between rich and poor caused tension between the two social groups.
1. (Howard Zinn & Rebecca Stefoff pg. 37)
• Foreign Rule/Regulations
- The many trade regulations and restrictions imposed by England played its own role in provoking the revolt.
a. Act of Parliament set regulations and restrictions on Virginian colonists’ trade and exports.
- Constraint imposed by Navigation Acts was one of the reasons why tobacco prices were substantially so low.
1. (Roland Merchand). A Documentary Source Problem- “Due to a substantial growth in production and to some of the restrictions on exports imposed by the Navigation Acts of the 1660's, tobacco prices were depressed after 1670 and took an even sharper down-turn in 1675.”
- Restrictions by English representatives/parliament would have potentially significant affect on commerce as well as the common people, a majority of who survived through agricultural farming.
1. Sources yet to be located.
b. Virginia colonies represented by English legislation.
-Because of the restrictions, harsh policies and heavy taxes, Bacon convinced common people and made out Berkeley as the antagonist because he was the closest connection with England. (they blamed him for their poverty.)
1. (Robert Beverly pg. 6) (defend Berkeley)
- (describe policies and exemplify tax burdens)
1. Sources yet to be located
c. The protest by the common people against Berkeley led by Bacon became violent.
- This led to Nathanial Bacon and his supporters plundering many social elite’s estates.
1. (Source unknown or unspecified)
• Local Disturbances/Protection
- The hostility of the local Native Americans proved to be the final factor that influenced and aggravated the initiation of Bacon’s Rebellion.
a. land encroachment led to violent outbursts between the natives and colonists.
- The brutality and aggression of Indians made colonists seek colonial defense and protection.
1. (Royal Commissioners 1677 pg 6)
b. Constant threat between settlers and Indians proceeded with government doing nothing about situation because of valued trading partnerships.
-Because of the Colonial government’s minimal efforts to aid colonists in defense, the commoners found a leader in Nathanial Bacon.
- Bacon’s hatred for Indians resulted from the murder of his plantation manager unspecified family members.
c. Bacon and followers attempt to annihilate the Indians furthermore increased native aggressiveness towards colonists.