This volume resumes the story of Governor William Berkeley upon his return from England in 1659, then moves the reader quickly to that quintessential political embroglio of 17th-century America–Bacon’s Rebellion of 1676. Convinced about the Governor’s lack of concern for their safety and economic well being, a group of rebellious frontier planters cast their lot with Berkeley’s cousin and former ally on the Governor’s Council, Nathaniel Bacon. Bacon soon found himself at the head of a force of 2,000 men that routed the Pamunkeys and ultimately took possession of all of Virginia west of the Chesapeake Bay. Although Berkeley would emerge victorious, executing a number of Bacon’s lieutenants, he was himself recalled to England five months later, scarcely three months before his own demise. An extraordinary episode in colonial history, Bacon’s Rebellion may have been an earlier century’s harbinger of the limits to which America’s colonists would permit themselves to be ruled by a tyrant.
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