Essay about Examination Of Virginia 's ' Declaration Of The People

830 Words Oct 21st, 2016 4 Pages
In the 1676 “Declaration of the People”, Virginian elite Nathaniel Bacon enumerated the black and white labor force’s grievances against Governor William Berkeley and the ruling elite. “We the Comons of Virginia doe declare, desiering a firme union amongst our selves that we may joyntly and with one accord defend our selves against the common Enimy” This union, along with the rebellion it orchestrated, was put down after the death of Bacon. During post-rebellion Virginia, elite legislatures passed an onslaught of reforms attacking the black body and white female sexuality. Examination of Virginia’s slave codes demonstrate that in order for the elite class to preserve their power after Bacon’s Rebellion it became necessary to create a new racialized society which would herald in the Antebellum South. In the aftermath of Bacon’s Rebellion, rich planters began a campaign to divide and conquer their labor force. Recognizing that the last Baconians to resist were desperate black slaves and the poorest white servants they decided to construct a society that would have obvious racial distinctions. The new Virginian legislation, passed between 1680-1720, took a different tone than Bacon’s “Declaration to the People.” In fact, it sought to divide the union that had been formed in 1676 by making black synonymous with slavery. These new laws required planters who freed their slaves to pay for freedman’s transportation out of the colony. This way free blacks could not confuse the…

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