Bacon's Rebellion: The Most Important Event in the Establishment of Democracy in Colonial America

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Topics: Democracy, Poverty
'...where we do well know that all our causes will be impartially heard and equally justice administered to all men,' as stated by, Nathaniel Bacon. 1 In 1676 an uprising known as Bacon's Rebellion occurred in Virginia. The immediate cause of this revolt was the dissension between the planters and the Indians. Because Sir William Berkeley, the Governor of Virginia had willingly denied support to the farmers, Bacon assumed leadership of an unauthorized expedition against the Indians. When Bacon learned that Governor Berkeley was rising a force against him, he turned away from the Indians to fight with Berkley. This had now become a serious problem for the governor. When news of this revolt had reached King Charles II, it alarmed him so that he dispatched eleven hundred troops to Virginia, recalled his governor, and appointed a commission to determine the causes of the dissatisfaction. Bacon's Rebellion is considered to be the most important event in the establishment of democracy in colonial America because the right to vote and social equality were denied to the farmers by the local government.

The right to vote is a small but crucial part of the democracy. During the first half of the 17th century the farmers on the plantations in Virginia were not able to exercise their right to vote. The only people that were able to vote during this time were the wealthy men who owned land. Overall the colonists had not been treated fairly. They had been over taxed and denied their voting rights. To them voting meant that the person they elected was the person they felt was responsible enough to motivate them and support them. Unfortunately Governor Sir William Berkeley was not living up to those standards. Berkeley did not care about the farmers. It was obvious that the only thing he cared about was making money. The event that sparked the rebellion occurred when the Indians attacked the farmers. Normally these farmers were expecting to receive help from the governor. They

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