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A Free Reading Passage on Bacon’s Rebellion for AP U.S. History

Cate O'Donnell

2 min read

May 28

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Bacon’s Rebellion is a referenced topic in the Transatlantic Trade topic in Period 2 of AP U.S. History. You could reference this example on your AP U.S. History test.


The Burning of Jamestown by Howard Pyle
The Burning of Jamestown

The Burning of Jamestown by Howard Pyle / public domain


Bacon’s Rebellion took place in 1676 in the Virginia Colony. It highlighted the growing tensions between frontier settlers and the colonial government and had lasting implications for the development of colonial policies and society.


Several factors contributed to the outbreak of Bacon’s Rebellion. Economic hardships, high taxes, and resentment towards the colonial government played major roles. The immediate cause, however, was the conflict between frontier settlers and Native American tribes. Settlers on the western frontier of Virginia were frequently attacked by Native Americans as they encroached on their lands. The colonial government, led by Governor Sir William Berkeley, was reluctant to retaliate against the Native Americans, partly because of his lucrative fur trade agreements with them.


Nathaniel Bacon, a wealthy and ambitious planter, became the leader of the discontented settlers. He saw an opportunity to gain power and address the settlers’ grievances. Bacon demanded that Berkeley authorize a military expedition against the Native Americans, but when Berkeley refused, Bacon took matters into his own hands.


In April 1676, Bacon led an unauthorized expedition against the Native Americans, attacking both friendly and hostile tribes. Governor Berkeley declared Bacon a rebel and ordered his arrest. In response, Bacon and his followers marched on Jamestown, the colonial capital, and forced Berkeley to flee. The rebels then burned Jamestown to the ground in September 1676.


The rebellion ended abruptly when Nathaniel Bacon died of dysentery in October 1676. Without their charismatic leader, the rebel forces quickly disbanded, and Governor Berkeley regained control. Harsh reprisals followed, with Berkeley executing 23 of the rebellion’s leaders and seizing property from many participants. However, Berkeley’s harsh actions were met with disapproval in England, leading to his recall by King Charles II.


The rebellion exposed the instability caused by the large population of discontented indentured servants. In response, the colonial elite began to transition to a greater reliance on enslaved African labor, which they believed would be easier to control and less likely to rebel.


The rebellion also prompted changes in policies towards Native Americans. The colonial government became more aggressive in its efforts to remove Native Americans from lands desired by settlers, leading to further displacement and conflict.


The rebellion highlighted the need for the colonial government to be more responsive to the concerns of frontier settlers. While the immediate aftermath saw harsh reprisals, the long-term effect was a gradual shift towards greater representation and consideration of the interests of western settlers. However, the rebellion also deepened the racial divide in the colony. The use of both white and black rebels alarmed the colonial elite, leading them to implement policies that further entrenched racial divisions to prevent future alliances between poor whites and enslaved Africans.



PRINTABLE READING PASSAGE ON Bacon’s Rebellion

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Bacon's Rebellion FREE Reading Passage


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Transatlantic Trade

Period 2


AP US HISTORY




Bacon's Rebellion



#BaconsRebellion #Virginia

Cate O'Donnell

2 min read

May 28

15

0

0

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