PRIMARY SOURCE TERM PAPER: THE DECLARATION OF THE PEOPLE OF VIRGINIA
(BACON'S LIST OF GRIEVANCES-1676)
United States History I-Honors- HIST 2111H-270
November 07th, 2014
The year of 1677 brought many changes within Virginia in reference to politics, leadership and labor as a response to one of the most dramatic conflicts of the time, Bacon's Rebellion of 1676. This rebellion was led by Nathaniel Bacon in retaliation to Governor William Berkeley's tyrannical governing style. Governor Berkeley prized his trade with the Indians over the protection of his people, the colonists. When the Indians continuously attacked the settlers, the governor would turn a blind eye as to overlook the situation. Nathaniel Bacon, along with many others, became fed up with Governor Berkeley's attitude and behavior towards them which kindled a revolt from the people. The revolt expanded into an all-out rebellion that later led to the burning down of Jamestown in September, 1676 and called for new leadership in Virginia.
[1: Anonymous " On Bacon's Rebellion in Virginia," Annals of American History. ]
Amidst the rebellion, Bacon's followers, the nonelite western Virginians (former indentured servants, some slaves, as well as small and middling planters) issued The Declaration of the People of Virginia against Governor Berkeley and the powerful tobacco elite of the eastern portion of the colony. The purpose of this document was to list grievances against the ruling of Governor Berkeley, and to explain why the rebellion was a necessity for change at the time. Much can be learned by analyzing this document: it becomes evident as to why the colonists led the rebellion in the first place, it taught becoming leaders what not to do in order to keep peace in the colonies, and really opened a window into the past showing circumstances that called for so much...