In 1676 an uprising of colonists, known as Bacon's Rebellion occurred in Virginia. The two main people in Bacon's Rebellion were relations, (cousins by marriage.) Governor William Berkeley was governor of Virginia in the 1640's, (Gillon and Matson pg 75.) His reputation as governor of Virginia was a highly respectable one. The other figure in this uprising was Nathaniel Bacon. Bacon was a arrogant, stubborn and egocentric young man whose father sent him to stay with his Virginian relatives in the expectation that he would mature. When Bacon arrived in Virginia, his cousin Berkeley treated his relative with respect, providing him with both significant land ownership and a seat on his council.
Due to economic problems in Virginia, the colonist divided into what were essentially two groups. The Indians were the first group, and the Farmers were the second. An attack by the Farmers on one group of Indians caused large scale Indian attacks. In reply to these events, Berkeley ordered restraints by the colonists, but many, including his own relation Bacon, refused to comply. Bacon deliberately disobeyed the governor’s orders and attacked a group of Indians for alleged thievery. An argument among the colonist about whether Bacon or Berkeley’s actions were appropriate separated the colonists yet again.
In April 1676, Bacon completely denounced Berkeley and decided to start a campaign of his own against the Indians. Berkeley ordered Bacon not to start a mutiny, but Bacon refused and requested a commission to legalize his control of volunteers on his campaign. The governor denied, but Bacon went forth with attacks on the Indians making no distinctions between friendly and unfriendly tribes. The governor then publicly denounced Bacon and removed him from council, proclaiming to Bacon’s wife that he would be hung.
Berkeley asked Bacon to apologize in exchange for a pardon. Bacon, being the stubborn man he was, saw nothing wrong in what he had done, so he refused...