Bacon's Rebellion, 1676-1677: Race, Class, and Frontier Conflict in Colonial Virginia (Reacting to the Past(tm))
In the early seventeenth century, Virginia's Chesapeake region saw the emergence of a multiracial society centered around the profitable tobacco industry. While Native Americans, free and enslaved Africans, and Europeans coexisted and interacted, a hierarchical order formed with a small elite planting class, led by Governor William Berkeley, wielding power over land, labor, and governance. Seeking to form a coalition of dissatisfied elites and marginalized individuals, Nathaniel Bacon, a newcomer to the Virginia colony, led a rebellion against Berkeley and his supporters.
In this game, students assume the roles of the elite loyalists to Governor Berkeley and the rebellious supporters of Nathaniel Bacon. Engaging in debates, conspiracies, and simulated acts of resistance, students will strive to shape the future governance of the Virginia colony, determining which group emerges as the ruling class and which group will be relegated to the lower rungs of colonial society.