Summary Analysis Inin Virginia, a group of black slaves and white servants united against their wealthy social superiors.
Persons of a Mean and Vile Condition Inseventy years after Virginia was founded, a hundred years before it supplied leadership for the American Revolution, that colony faced a rebellion of white frontiersmen, joined by slaves and servants, a rebellion so threatening that the governor had to flee the burning capital of Jamestown, and England decided to send a thousand soldiers across the Atlantic, hoping to maintain order among forty thousand colonists.
This was Bacon's Rebellion. After the uprising was suppressed, its leader, Nathaniel Bacon, dead, and his associates hanged, Bacon was described in a Royal Commission report: He was said to be about four or five and thirty years of age, indifferent tall but slender, black-hair'd and of an ominous, pensive, melancholly Aspect, of a pestilent and prevalent Logical discourse tending to atheisme He seduced the Vulgar and most ignorant people to believe two thirds of each county being of that Sort Soe that their whole hearts and hopes were set now upon Bacon.
Next he charges the Governour as negligent and wicked, treacherous and incapable, the Lawes and Taxes as unjust and oppressive and cryes up absolute necessity of redress. Thus Bacon encouraged the Tumult and as the unquiet crowd follow and adhere to him, he listeth them as they come in upon a large paper, writing their name circular wise, that their Ringleaders might not be found out.
Having connur'd them into this circle, given them Brandy to wind up the charme, and enjoyned them by an oath to stick fast together and to him and the oath being administered, he went and infected New Kent County ripe for Rebellion.
Bacon's Rebellion began with conflict over how to deal with the Indians, who were close by, on the western frontier, constantly threatening. Whites who had been ignored when huge land grants around Jamestown were given away had gone west to find land, and there they encountered Indians.
Were those frontier Virginians resentful that the politicos and landed aristocrats who controlled the colony's government in Jamestown first pushed them westward into Indian territory, and then seemed indecisive in fighting the Indians? That might explain the character of their rebellion, not easily classifiable as either antiaristocrat or anti-Indian, because it was both.
And the governor, William Berkeley, and his Jamestown crowd-were they more conciliatory to the Indians they wooed certain of them as spies and allies now that they had monopolized the land in the East, could use frontier whites as a buffer, and needed peace?
The desperation of the government in suppressing the rebellion seemed to have a double motive: Violence had escalated on the frontier before the rebellion. Some Doeg Indians took a few hogs to redress a debt, and whites, retrieving the hogs, murdered two Indians.
The Doegs then sent out a war party to kill a white herdsman, after which a white militia company killed twenty-four Indians. This led to a series of Indian raids, with the Indians, outnumbered, turning to guerrilla warfare.
The House of Burgesses in Jamestown declared war on the Indians, but proposed to exempt those Indians who cooperated. This seemed to anger the frontiers people, who wanted total war but also resented the high taxes assessed to pay for the war.
Times were hard in All contemporary sources speak of the great mass of people as living in severe economic straits," writes Wilcomb Washburn, who, using British colonial records, has done an exhaustive study of Bacon's Rebellion. It was a dry summer, ruining the corn crop, which was needed for food, and the tobacco crop, needed for export.
Governor Berkeley, in his seventies, tired of holding office, wrote wearily about his situation: In fact, there was such a class already developed in Virginia.
Bacon himself came from this class, had a good bit of land, and was probably more enthusiastic about killing Indians than about redressing the grievances of the poor.
But he became a symbol of mass resentment against the Virginia establishment, and was elected in the spring of to the House of Burgesses. When he insisted on organizing armed detachments to fight the Indians, outside official control, Berkeley proclaimed him a rebel and had him captured, whereupon two thousand Virginians marched into Jamestown to support him.
Berkeley let Bacon go, in return for an apology, but Bacon went off, gathered his militia, and began raiding the Indians. Bacon's "Declaration of the People" of July shows a mixture of populist resentment against the rich and frontier hatred of the Indians.
It indicted the Berkeley administration for unjust taxes, for putting favorites in high positions, for monopolizing the beaver trade, and for not protecting the western formers from the Indians.
Then Bacon went out to attack the friendly Pamunkey Indians, killing eight, taking others prisoner, plundering their possessions.
There is evidence that the rank and file of both Bacon's rebel army and Berkeley's official army were not as enthusiastic as their leaders. There were mass desertions on both sides, according to Washburn. In the fall, Bacon, aged twenty-nine, fell sick and died, because of, as a contemporary put it, "swarmes of Vermyn that bred in his body.
Bacon is Dead I am sorry at my heart, That lice and flux should take the hangmans part. The rebellion didn't last long after that. A ship armed with thirty guns, cruising the York River, became the base for securing order, and its captain, Thomas Grantham, used force and deception to disarm the last rebel forces.
Coming upon the chief garrison of the rebellion, he found four hundred armed Englishmen and Negroes, a mixture of free men, servants, and slaves. He promised to pardon everyone, to give freedom to slaves and servants, whereupon they surrendered their arms and dispersed, except for eighty Negroes and twenty English who insisted on keeping their arms.
Grantham promised to take them to a garrison down the river, but when they got into the boat, he trained his big guns on them, disarmed them, and eventually delivered the slaves and servants to their masters.Zinn Chapter 1- Study questions 1.
Howard Zinn explains that his purpose as a historian and his purpose for writing A People’s History of the United States, is to tell history from the view points of the forgotten members of history, such as the Cubans during the Spanish-American War. 2. ZINN CHAPTER 3 Persons of Mean and Vile Condition 1.
As the colonial period progressed, the social class structure was set. Rich whites used racial unity t manipulate the lower classes and to keep the Indians at bay/5(1).
"Persons Of A Mean And Vile Condition" Essays and Research Papers Persons Of A Mean And Vile Condition the U.S. was built on the backs of all the people who were taken advantage of: the poor, the black slaves, and the indians.
In Howard Zinn's,A People's History of the United States Zinn chooses the name " Persons of mean and vile condition" for chapter three because he goes into great depth about the severe treatments that the rich white men abused and exploited the lower class with in colonial America.
In the s and s, by forced exile, by lures, promises, and lies, by kidnapping, by their urgent need to escape the living conditions of the home country, poor people wanting to go to America became commodities of profit for merchants, traders, ship captains, and eventually their masters in America.
This is why Zinn named Chapter 3 of his book, “People’s History,” “Persons of Mean and Vile Conditions.” He wanted to shed light on those who were taken advantage of while history was in the making— the slaves, the poor people, the Indians also known as the “persons of .