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The Role of Native Americans after Bacon's Rebellion

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The Virginians grow tobacco, in 1617 and need labor, at first, they the Indians and African blacks had begun but was not yet the primary source of Labor in Virginia. So, to get the labor need to run their plantations, another source is the European population, and they will use them as laborers, as free labor but also coerced labor, so-called Indentured Servants. Indentured servants were men and women who signed a contract for the passage into Virginia, and once arrived, they would prove food, clothing, and shelter for the exchange of labor for the agreed amount of years on the plantations to work for the aristocrats or in the homes of the elites. However, by 1676, many indentured servants had already fulfilled their contractual obligations and free to build their own lives. (Zin, 43) However, many of the newly freed indentured servants settled in the backcountry were Native Americans were already living. 

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However, they were discontented with their new settlements because they were afraid of attack and felt like the government doesn’t care about its situation. Nathaniel Bacon, Jr. takes a leadership role and gives demands to the governor; however, Berkeley refused the frontier. But Bacon stood up to a government for the frontier people. Even though Bacon was appointed to the House of Burgesses, and he continually protested, these men were guilty of gross miscarriages of justice, such as levying excessive taxes that enriched private fortunes rather than the public good and using political favoritism to make a mockery of judicial proceedings. But when Bacon was denied a commission to fight the Indians until they coerced Berkeley. Attacked both friendly and hostile Indians. Bacon knew fighting the Indians without the governor’s authority was against colonial law. According to Bacon’s argument, the only way that the government could discharge its duty to its English subjects and regain its legitimacy was to declare war on its Indian issues.

On the eve of Bacon’s Rebellion, Native American subjects occupied an ambiguous place within the colonial order. England had claimed sovereignty over vast swathes of North America by the right of discovery, a new modern doctrine under the comprehensive set of propositions known as the law of nations. But this asserted sovereignty over North America resulted in contradictory imperatives in the process of colonization. Virginia settlers justified their uprising because the Jamestown government unlawfully revoked their rights as English subjects. Above all, they cited the government’s failure to protect them from Native American attacks. They framed this claim by contrasting their political status as English subjects with that of Native Americans, whose incorporation into the body politic inherently violated their rights because it placed them in danger. 

However, they were discontented with their new settlements because they were afraid of attack and the centrality of the anti-Indian argument to the rebels’ populist revolt helps to explain why they mounted at least two campaigns against Virginia’s Indians in 1676, devoting considerable amounts of human resources to eradicating defenseless non-combatants even as their conflict with the government escalated into a full-scale civil war. Bacon’s growing army of volunteers, coupled with the increasingly popular belief in universal Indian enmity, fueled the transformation from Indian-fearing to Indian-hating.

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