The Virginia Colonial Experiment

Superior Essays
Much of the early history of the Virginia colonial experiment is the history of a charnel house as disease, Indians, and overwork conspired to kill colonists in appalling numbers. This shocking death-rate conspired to ensure that the lands and opportunities remained open through the first fifty years of the colony 's life. By the latter part of the 17th century change came to Virginia and the opportunities once so plentiful began to disappear, the population, increasing, began to divide the land and the classes more fully and as discontent grew solutions had to be arrived at, eventually resulting in the rise of race-based chattel slavery. The merciful decline in Virginian mortality cannot be positively linked to any one factor (Morgan, p. …show more content…
Piracy had long been endemic, but so were smaller acts of resistance, most especially the killing of livestock an act that not only struck out but fed the hungry (Morgan, pp. 198, 237). It is perhaps surprising then, that when rebellion did finally flare up it initially focused not on the oppressors, but on the Indians. Bacon 's rebellion started as a response to fears over government inaction in response to Indian raids (Morgan, p. 253-59). Settlers, pushed ever further into the borderlands between the colony and Indian territory came in to greater and greater conflict with their new neighbors and saw government attempts at conciliation and peace as unacceptable, they wanted retribution, they wanted someone to blame (Morgan, p. 258-60). The rebellion began with crusading zeal, killing Indians without regard for tribe or affiliation, supporters eventually defining enemy Indians as “any that left their towns without English permission” (Morgan, p. 263). The focus of the rebellion managed to stay on the Indians for much of its length, but eventually in the face of government resistance, the discontented began to finally see the colony 's establishment as their true enemy and began to run amok, plundering the estates and lands of the wealthy, servants and slaves promised freedom flocked to the rebellion 's banner eventually burning Jamestown and forcing the governor to …show more content…
Slavery became the obvious course of action, create a class of servant that would never become free, and never be able to challenge their masters meaningfully. A system that offered the advantages of servants with those of cattle (Morgan, p. 310). While slavery had existed in the colony since the near beginning it had not been sufficiently economically viable as mortality in English servants made them a cheaper investment (Morgan, p. 297-98). Once the economic viability of slavery became a reality in the latter part of the seventeenth century, the question become one of implementation. While some thought was given to the idea of enslaving poor Englishmen, the level of violence and brutality necessary to enslave men coupled with the fear that discontented and displaced freedmen would make common cause with the slave led to the construction of a racial basis to the growing institution (Morgan, p. 313, 328). Slavery became the fate of Indians and Blacks, alien populations, otherized by their skin color and their faith (Morgan, p. 328-29). They were people that could be treated as chattel, as somehow inhuman, and free to be punished in ways that would be unthinkable for an English servant (Morgan, p. 313). Race, not a necessary precondition for slavery, became the method of justifying and sustaining it (Morgan,

Related Documents

  • Superior Essays

    War is born from conflict and most commonly greed. Ideally this conflict is resolved through peaceful means before one party decides to use force to obtain what they desire. War has always been a problem since ancient times to modern day and is the cause of countless deaths throughout time. War is never a good thing because it is used when one side goes to the extreme to destroy the other, leaving both sides with causalities and the other with a loss of their beliefs. Relating to the Iroquoian Wars, war occurred as the Iroquoian tribes were pressured by a decline in population due to disease and a desire to control the fur trade.…

    • 1528 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    This revolt easily caused fear into pro-slavery Americans, and because of that, it was decided to resolved by making tougher laws against slaves. “Fifty-six blacks accused of participating in Nat Turner's rebellion were executed, and more than 200 others were beaten by angry mobs or white militias.” - (“Nat Turner”) . Later in November 11, 1831, was the execution on Nat Turner and several other slaves who took part were killed. Ever since Turner was killed, it was believed that this revolt sparked he famous Civil War, that ended slavery for good. It turned out that his revolt caused tension between the northern and southern United States.…

    • 1228 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    The rebellion started out by the Virginians rebelling against Governor William Berkeley because the Virginians resented him for being friendly towards the Native Americans even after their wrongdoings. Throughout the rebellion, there was a lot of injustice between the citizens and the…

    • 1178 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Great Awakening Dbq

    • 1208 Words
    • 5 Pages

    First of all, the war forced the British into a continued alliance with the Indians, specifically the Iroquois. After their first loss at Fort Duquesne, the English were forced to bring back Indian allies. However these Indians were cautious of the English as the influx of several thousand settlers “scared” the Natives due to the huge territorial acquisition that were being made for them to live on. Several tribes such as the Delawares followed Pontiac’s example of an uprising and revolted against the English. Even though there were eventually put down they were successful in getting the English to sign the Proclamation of 1763 which declared certain regions off limits to colonizers.…

    • 1208 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    They needed to adjust their culture and fight for their land. As some accepted the changes others didn’t and were ridiculed by Americans for showing their culture. Whole tribes were even killed . Impacts on Native Americans were many different things. These are only some of the big effects the western expansion had on the Native Americans.…

    • 666 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    Pro Slavery Dbq Thesis

    • 1265 Words
    • 6 Pages

    (Document B). The differentiating fields of slavery add to the already massive inequality slaves endure. Slavery as a whole is unfair and unjust, no matter which type of work one receives. However, the different levels of treatment create disunity within the slave community by instilling jealousy in people. While slaves are not coming together, masters ensure that oppression lives on.…

    • 1265 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    The act of handling these animal products was offensive to the Muslin and Hindus faiths of the sepoys’ and they refused to do this, resulting in the imprisonment of many and then the military mutiny began. Large numbers of mutineers joined by many rebels from civil unrest, destroyed the prisons as they freed prisoners. This caused many problems for British Imperialism and resulted in much blood shed for both sides and therefore more distant relationships followed the mutiny (Anderson,…

    • 1707 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    As Powhatan became angrier at the stealing of land and food, war began to outbreak between the Indians and colonists and continued throughout the seventeenth century. The first major Indian uprising took place in Virginia in 1622, which resulted in the death of 347 whites. The Pequot War soon followed on account of tribes attempting to prevent new settlements in Connecticut River. Furthermore, settlers were moving farther into the forest, killing the game and causing Indians to go hungry. These Indians had to decide whether they should go to war with the settlers or move and risk battling other western tribes for land.…

    • 1206 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    The new Europeans settlers saw natives as collateral damage, and would wipe out tribes to use the land to reap the benefits and for full financial gain. With these remonstrations growing violence soon ensued. “The Indians had a number of longstanding grievances that led to this violence, including encroachment on their lands, attempts the subject them to English law, and unfenced colonial livestock destroying their corn fields. ” Europeans viewed the land that they settled on as their personal property. This property, in their mind, was there for the taking to be used for agricultural and economic success.…

    • 1210 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    A village meeting is scheduled and the question of war is in the air. Although the members of Umuofia would have to wage war on some previous tribe members who have fallen under the rule of the European colonizers, they accept that going into battle is the only option in such drastic times. Just as this idea is brought to the villager’s attention, five kotma arrive, telling Okonkwo that the white missionaries have ordered their meeting to stop. This enrages Okonkwo, causing him to kill the court head messenger. This killing brought an uproar from the citizens backing Okonkwo and what he stands for, but they do nothing to stop the other four kotma from escaping.…

    • 1000 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays