Long Term Causes of the Bacon Rebellion
Since Virginia's establishment as a colony, the newly freed men suffered exploitation from the upper echelons of society. Indentured servants and later settlers came to the new world seeking financial independence and a better life. After years of indentured servitude the newly-freed men would find themselves stuck in the very situation they sought to free themselves from. This lack of financial independence and social mobility created a general feeling of discontent culminating in Bacon's Rebellion. The search for land is primarily what led conflict of the upper and lower classes and ultimately the rebellion. As life expectancy rose and people came pouring into Virginia the availability of good land dropped dramatically. The aristocracy seeing an opportunity to make a profit bought up most of best land creating "artificial scarcity". Only a few lucky freed men could find small plots of land. Without land of there own, colonists could not hope to achieve financial independence, or even the right to vote. The freed men that couldn't find land were left with four choices: to rent from the upper class, find land on the outskirts to settle, become squatters on other peoples land, or go back into indentured servitude. It was common place for freed men to be forced into additional terms of indentured servitude because of debts they owed. The reliance on plantation owners to rent land from created tension and bitter feelings. The general abuse of power among members of government was another contributing factor to the Bacon's Rebellion. Only the rich were appointed to council positions and they used their appointment to further enrich themselves. Collectors for import tax would get a 10% commission on all the tax they collected. Governor Berkley was paid an exorbitant salary of £2,000 annually and received lavish gifts for little reason. Governor Berkley didn't call for re-elections for a fourteen year period which further...
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