Tax Revolt 1676

In many ways Bacon’s Rebellion in Virginia in 1676 was an eerie first run, a century early, of the same type of conflicts which would lead to the American Revolution.  Complaints by colonists of high taxes, a Royal Governor acting in defiance of a colonial legislature, a Virginia planter leading the forces in revolt, etc.  It was also a fierce struggle for power between  Royal Governor William Berkeley, and Nathaniel Bacon, a new comer to the colony from England, who was the leader of the rebels.  If Bacon at 29 hadn’t died suddenly on October 26, 1676 of dysentery, it is hard to say how much larger a role he would have played in American history.  Without him the revolt collapsed and Berkeley wreaked a bloody vengeance, executing 23 men.  He was recalled the next year to England by Charles II, the Merry Monarch, according to tradition, quipping, “That old fool has put to death more people in that naked country than I did here for the murder of my father.”

Here is the Declaration of the People drawn up by Bacon on July 30, 1676 to explain why action had to be taken against Governor Berkeley.  I have always thought Jefferson borrowed parts of the style of this document in the indictments against the actions of King George III in the Declaration of Independence. (more…)

Published in: on April 9, 2019 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on Tax Revolt 1676