A Tradition of Rebellion

The original thirteen American colonies had experienced violent uprisings long before the Revolutionary War. Americans were more than willing to take up arms to defend a cause they held dear. This tradition of rebellion characterized the American spirit throughout its early history.

One of the earliest revolts was Bacon’s Rebellion In 1676, Nathaniel Bacon led a group disgruntled citizens from western Virginia in search of justice. They felt their interests were not represented by Virginia’s colonial legislature and that Governor Berkeley had done nothing to protect them from Indian raids. They also felt excluded from the riches of the eastern seaboard.

Over a thousand of Bacon’s followers entered Jamestown and burned the capital city. Governor Berkeley fled until reinforcements could organize. The rebels plundered the countryside until Berkeley’s forces crushed them.

Similar uprisings took place all along the colonial backwoods.

From 1765 to 1767 outlaws roamed the land holding farmers at their mercy. Vigilantes known as Regulators took the law into their own hands and pushed the outlaws away.

American colonists had proven themselves experienced rebels. Wherever they felt their rights were jeopardized, they seemed willing to take up arms. Economic exploitation, lack of political representation, and unfair taxation were among the causes that led to these clashes.

News of the rebellions reached England. Parliament and the monarchy heard this Colonial message loud and clear: “Don’t tread on me.” The emerging America would be ready to fight for justice and if necessary, independence.

Source: A Tradition of Rebellion
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