Bacon’s Rebellion and its role in creating the white race

The little-known Bacon’s Rebellion is an early link between America’s original sins: The theft of Indigenous lands and the brutal system of chattel slavery.

The rebellion took place in the Virginia Colony in 1676-77. It played an important role in the creation of the white race.

At this point in our colonial history, full-blown chattel slavery had not yet begun. Bacon’s Rebellion involved an alliance of poor Europeans and poor Africans (free, indentured servants and slaves) against the ruling class. While the rebellion ultimately failed, it was violent. Rebels burned down Jamestown, the colonial capital.

Between 300 and 500 people participated in the revolt. That got the colonial elites’ attention. They became acutely aware of the risks ahead should all these poor people unite against them again.

Their solution: Create division between poor blacks and poor whites.

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