Bacons rebellion

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Bacon's rebellion causes a transition in the history of labor in the early southern colonies for the reason that the people involved in the rebellion were indentured servants, freemen, and slaves. Bacon's rebellion was a popular revolt in colonial Virginia in 1676. It was a rebellion in which was based on the discontent of the majority of the people in the colony. The causes of the rebellion were high taxes, low prices for tobacco, and resentment against special privileges given those close to the governor, Sir William Berkeley, Berkeley's failure to defend the frontier against attacks by Native Americans. The rebellion then ended when Bacon died of bloody flux or dysentery. Bacon's rebellion explains why African laborers eventually supplanted white bonded servants as the primary labor force (Bacon's rebellion). In the rebellion, indentured servants play a role, and these indentured servants was what changed the labor in early southern colonies.

Murrin explains indentured servants as “people who had their passage to America paid by a master or ship captain” (G-12). These indentured servants agreed to work for their master for a term of years in exchange for their cost of passage, bed and board, and small freedom dues when their terms were over. The number of years they have to served depended on the terms of their contract with their master. The servants that were brought to Virginia allowed planters to obtain a double profit. The double profits were, they get several years of cheap labors and for each new settler they brought, and they receive fifty acres of land. During the time, servants were cheaper compare to slaves, and since both were likely to die within years, servants were better bargains (Bacon's rebellion). Eventually soon people learn to survive longer in the new land. Servants began to live long enough to achieve their freedom.

These servants, who soon became free, were anxious for their land that they pressure the colonial government to expand westward into American Indian lands. They soon became unwelcome competitors to the already-established planters (Bacon's rebellion). These indentured servants wanted more land and that was also a cause of the rebellion. They followed Bacon in the rebellion against Indians, not because they were rebelling against hostile Indians, and authorities. By overthrowing the Indians, they were able to obtain those lands. Land was what the indentured servants wanted, so it was a great thing for them to follow Bacon in his rebellion (Bacon's rebellion). Bacon's Rebellion demonstrated that poor whites and poor blacks could be united in a cause. This was a great fear of the ruling class that the fear hastened the transition to racial slavery.

Indentured servants soon were replaced with slaves, because of the rebellion. Bacon's rebellion demonstrates that a labor in which could challenge the authority of the planters was not desirable. It also shows that the poor laborers and farmers could prove a dangerous part against wealthy landowners. So by switching to chattel slavery, new white laborers and small farmers were mostly limited to those who could afford to immigrate and support themselves. In addition, improving economic conditions in England meant that fewer laborers would want to migrate to the colonies as indentured servants, so the planters needed to find new sources of labor. Africans continued to be voluntarily available and because many were not Christian, they could be enslaved and regulated in a manner that indentures could not. Virginia then enacted a series of laws, constituting a formal slave code that removed many slaves' rights that they previously enjoyed and they also added further restrictions to slavery including anti-miscegenation law (Race). This shows the reason why the rebellion was a transition in the history of labor in early southern colonies.

Indentured servants' involvement in Bacon's Rebellion caused the changed in history labors in the early southern colonies because of their involvement in the rebellion. Not only that, but because of their rebellion against the authorities when they became free. The rebellion was mainly cause by land, discontent of majorities, taxes, and tobacco, the resentment against special privileges given those close to the governor, Sir William Berkeley, and hostile Indians. Indentured servants are people who paid their passage to their master or ship captain to get to America. These servants were able to be free after serving their terms, and when they were free they wanted to obtain their land. So they pressure colonial government, which also leads to the rebellion as they involve themselves with Bacon. Soon the rebellion causes the replacement of servants with slaves, which soon starts to evolve as time continues.

Works Cited

“Bacon's Rebellion”. 2000-2009 2010 February 22 <>.

Murrin, John M, Paul E, Johnson, James M. McPherson, Alice Fahs, Gary Gerstle, Emily S. Rosenberg, and Norman L. Rosenberg. Liberty, Equality, Power: A History of the American People. Boston: Thomas Wadsworth, 2008.

“Race- The Power of an illusion”. 2003 PBS. 2010 February 22 <>.