Bacon’s Rebellion, Donald Trump, and American Populism


Bacon’s Rebellion of 1676 took place long before Donald Trump’s ascension to the White House, but if we allow for a wide-angle view of history we might trace out some general similarities between these two events. In fact, I am inclined to argue that the American populist tradition has its roots in Bacon’s Rebellion. Following such an argument, Donald Trump can be explained as the latest incarnation of Nathanael Bacon, though contextualized to the early twenty-first century. The key word here is: populism.

Populism, Defined or Not

First of all, what is populism? The easy answer is: who knows, you decide. “Scholars debate whether it [populism] is a creed, a style, a political strategy, a marketing ploy, or some combination of the above,” explains Michael Kazin in a recent article in Foreign Affairs. “Populists are praised as defenders of the values and needs of the hardworking majority and condemned as demagogues who prey on the ignorance of the uneducated.” According to The Economist, in a Facebook posting of 9 November 2016, populism is about “us versus them.” Populism can be progressive (think Bernie Sanders) or conservative (think Tea Party), all depending on what side it chooses. There is also the kind of populism that is nationalistic (think Donald Trump). Generally, there is the idea of “the people” being harmed by “the elites.” The people at the top are characterized as corrupt and portrayed as having betrayed the common interest. Economics, in most cases, is an underlying issue.

Kazin also brings into the discussion “civic nationalism,” a term attributed to historian Gary Gerstle and explained as a “belief in the fundamental equality of all human beings, in every individual’s inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and in a democratic government that derives its legitimacy from the people’s consent.” As noble as that sounds, it sounds too noble for Trump. Indeed, civic nationalism seems not to fit squarely with the nationalistic populism Trump represents, unless one is truly convinced that white Americans have by and large been denied their rights. Or, another way of looking at it, which would make the concept perhaps fit, is to construe “human beings” as white and “the people’s consent” as white consent. For in actuality, Trump’s nationalistic populism seems to go against the idea of equal opportunity for everyone, as it has scapegoated immigrants and ethnic groups, as well as Muslims.

There seems to be universal agreement that America has a populist tradition, despite whatever that tradition specifically means. Richard Hofstadter, in his Pulitzer Prize-winning book The Age of Reform, published in 1955, traces that tradition from the populist movement at the end of the nineteenth century to the progressive era prior to WWI and to the New Deal of the 1930s. I suggest, however, that the American populist tradition can be traced further back, to the colonial era and Bacon’s Rebellion.

A View from London

This past semester, from September until December, as an American I had an unusual backdrop for thinking about the 2016 presidential election. I was directing my university’s study abroad program in London, far enough away to not be hit by a political tsunami each time I turned the dial of a television or radio but close enough where I could pick up at the tube station a free English-language newspaper, such as the London Evening Standard, and garner the main contours of what was taking place back in my country, and with considerably less polemical dash. Also, since my laptop switched from a US to a UK server, the news that streamed across my screen seemed to be less shrill and had concerns not as compressed and myopic as typical American news—offering, in other words, something broader, more global, and not just American.

Cox: victim of
Cox: Brexit’s first victim.

Anyone who was following the news events of 2016 was well aware of the political upheaval that was taking place in Great Britain, represented most dramatically by “Brexit,” the vote for Great Britain to exit from the European Union (EU). Just as Trump supporters have been desirous of stopping Middle Eastern refugees from coming into the country, the vote behind Brexit was largely connected with an anti-migrant and anti-foreign sentiment. Perhaps the ugliest Brexit-related event was the murder of a prominent anti-Brexit Labour MP, Jo Cox, by a neo-Nazi. During the subsequent trial, witnesses said the assailant, as he was shooting and stabbing Cox, shouted “Britain First, this is for Britain, Britain will always come first.” Also, one piece of evidence revealed that prior to the attack the assassin had gone online and read about the Ku Klux Klan in the United States (Tahir).

Living in London, while the 2016 election campaign and immediate aftermath was being played out in America, I was able to see how populism was being defined and explained from the English perspective. And after the Trump victory, I noticed the British press came to link it with Brexit, referring to the two events as the “Brexit-Trump shock” (O’Neill). A columnist for the London Evening Standard astutely noted, “The victories of Trump and Leave [the EU] are partly an aftershock from the 2008 financial crisis” (Urwin) and the perception by many that they have not personally recovered. After winning the election, expressing rare agreement with the mainstream media, Trump referred to himself as the “Brexit President” (Murphy). I also noticed that the New York Times and The Economist, each a major news source for its respective country, were both against Brexit and Trump. Whether or not their positions were on the right side of history, it is intriguing that they stood unanimous against populism on both sides of the Atlantic. But in one text message that made it into the pages of the British print media, a man named Floyd offered what was a bit of populist perspective not in harmony with the elite UK journalists: “All this shock and awe about Trump winning the election, I for one am not surprised and just like the anti-Brexit brigade, the anti-Trump mob are spitting their dummies out. Get over yourselves, he won fair and square” (Daily Star).

Perhaps in agreement with Floyd, in a long commentary in the Sunday Telegraph, Tim Stanley argued that the election outcome should not have been surprising. Stanley had covered the election in America as a foreign journalist. According to his observation, the Trump victory was based on “the emergence of a new electoral block. Of people who feel that the political, financial and cultural establishments haven’t been serving their interests—voters who want to ‘drain the swamp’ in Washington.” British MP Kwasi Kwarteng conceded afterwards, “Trump instinctively understands the lack of connection between the governing classes and an industrial worker, say, in Ohio.”

Whatever anyone thinks of Trump’s style, the ideas he represents are not going to go anyway anytime soon, in the United States or across the Atlantic, Kwarteng added. Acknowledging the populism of his own country, he concluded that British leaders must make “a country that works for everyone.” In other words, a country that works for more than just the elite. The author warned that if politicians on both sides of the Atlantic fail to deliver, there will be even more populist revolt.

More scathing and critical was Janet Daley, a Sunday Telegraph columnist, who compared the Democratic Party in the United States with the Labour Party in her own country. She suggested that both parties are out of touch with average working people, their traditional core constituency. Whereas Democrats have turned their concern away from “guys with baseball caps and pick-up trucks,” its UK counterpart has shunned the “white van men.” As Clinton referred to Trump’s blue-collar supporters as “deplorables,” Labour leaders have “become the voice of north London rather than the voice of north England” and its “liberal Left” has made working-class Brits “everybody’s dinner party joke.”

Daley undoubtedly regarded as out of touch the Westminster Council, which “extended an invitation to the US president-elect Donald Trump in the hope that he would learn a thing or two from London about the benefits of an inclusive, multicultural society” (West End Extra). London, which in 2016 elected Sadiq Khan as its first Muslim mayor, was also that part of Great Britain that overwhelmingly voted to stay in the EU. After Trump’s election, Khan remarked, “The campaign divided America—and the world—and emotions are understandably running high,” adding, “I hope Donald Trump will now do everything in his power to unite people and bring divided communities back together” and “I wish him well” (Crerar, Sleigh, and Watts). Meanwhile, the next day outside the American Embassy in London anti-racist demonstrators clashed with far-right supporters (Watts) and in Germany political leaders, including Chancellor Angela Merkel, warned, “Demagogic populism is not only a problem in America. Elsewhere in the West, too, the political debate is in an alarming state” (Cecil).

Both Sides of the Atlantic

While in London I came to realize that populist revolt on both sides of the Atlantic has much earlier beginnings. This became clear after I attended a lecture at Gresham College entitled “The Republic of King Jesus” (Ryrie). The presentation focused on the English civil wars (there were three of them) and the period in which Oliver Cromwell was in charge. During that time of upheaval there were the Levellers, whom the professor described as “the first political movement in recorded history calling for representative democracy in the modern sense of the word.” The Levellers was just one of many radical groups at the time vying for influence. As I heard about them, I could not help but think of the American Tea Party on one hand and the supporters of the socialist Bernie Sanders on the other. Interestingly, according to Richard Lee of the Governor’s Council in colonial Virginia, Bacon’s Rebellion was supported by the “zealous inclination of the multitude” that had “hopes of levelling” (Zinn, 42).

The chaos in England had some impact on the English colonies in the New World, a point emphasized relatively recently by the historian James Rice. Governor William Berkeley of Virginia was at one point relieved of his duties after he advertised his colony as a refuge for royalists. After the restoration of the monarchy in 1660, he was placed back in power. The ferment occurring in England surely was part of the context for Bacon’s Rebellion. Also, the chaos in England, and elsewhere in Europe, led to a surge of potentially radical people migrating to the New World. According to Howard Zinn, “The servants who joined Bacon’s Rebellion were part of a large underclass of miserably poor whites who came to the North American colonies from European cities whose governments were anxious to be rid of them” (42).

Here comes Oliver's head in a box
Oliver’s head on a stick.

What the upheaval in England did was pull back a curtain and show that authority could be directly challenged. At the same time, after the royalists were put back in charge and the parliamentarians brought down a peg, the price for upheaval was demonstrated by the grotesquerie of Oliver Cromwell’s head put up for public viewing. In 1661, on the twelfth anniversary of the execution of Charles I, they dug up Cromwell’s body, “executed” him (even though he was already dead), and took his head and put it on display at Westminster Hall. It remained on display until 1685.

So we should keep in mind, Cromwell’s head was on a pole and left out in the elements during all of Bacon’s Rebellion. If we read the documents carefully, we can note why all who sided with Nathanael Bacon were emphatic in pronouncing their loyalty to the king. Their rebellion was against Berkeley, they insisted, not the king. What they were in essence saying was that they were not of the same category as Oliver Cromwell. Yet, their rebellion seems to have contained some of the sentiments that were twirling in England during the civil wars between royalists and parliamentarians. At one point Berkeley, feeling sorry for himself and his situation in the Virginia colony, wrote: “How miserable that man is that Governes a People where six parts of seavean at least are Poore Endebted Discontented and Armed” (Zinn, 40).


Briefly, Bacon’s Rebellion occurred in colonial Virginia in 1676, pitting Nathanael Bacon against William Berkeley. Bacon was an aristocrat planter located in the western reaches of the colony up the James River, whereas Berkeley was the governor and resided in the more developed eastern part outside of the capital Jamestown. The colonists in the colony’s frontier region came in conflict with Indians, but felt that the colonial leaders were less on their side and more on the side of the Indians. The frontier settlers were already resentful that the best land in the eastern parts had been divvied up by the aristocrats. Now they felt like they were being forced to serve as buffer between the Indians and the genteel colonists in the coastal areas. From Bacon’s perspective, Berkeley did not want to respond to Indian aggression because he did not want to put in jeopardy his lucrative deer-skin trade with the Indians.

In his The History and Present State of Virginia, published in 1705, Robert Beverly admitted the cause of Bacon’s Rebellion is somewhat opaque. But he went on to venture an opinion nonetheless:

Four Things may be reckon’d to have been the main Ingredients towards this intestine Commotion, viz. First, The extream low Price of Tobacco, and the ill Usage of the Planters in the Exchange of Goods for it, which the Country, with all their earnest Endeavours, could not remedy. Secondly, The Splitting the Colony into Proprieties, contrary to the original Charters; and the extravagant Taxes they were forced to undergo, to relieve themselves from those Grants. Thirdly, The heavy Restraints and Burdens laid upon their Trade by Act of Parliament in England. Fourthly, The Disturbance given by the Indians…. (66)

According to Zinn, writing in a style contemporary people can better understand:

It was a complex chain of oppression in Virginia. The Indians were plundered by white frontiersman, who were taxed and controlled by the Jamestown elite. And the whole colony was being exploited by England, which bought the colonists’ tobacco at prices it dictated and made 100,000 pounds a year for the King. Berkeley himself, returning to England years earlier to protest the English Navigation Acts, which gave the English merchants a monopoly of the colonial trade, had said:

…we cannot but resent, that forty thousand people should be impoverish’d to enrich little more than forty Merchants, who being the only buyers of our Tobacco, give us what they please for it, and after it is here, sell it how they please; and indeed have forty thousand servants in us at cheaper rates, than any other men have slaves …. (41-2)

Bacon’s Rebellion and Today

At a surface level, one may see similarities to the present situation in the United States. What took place in Virginia in the 1670s was like a political divide of red versus blue. The Trump supporters are by and large from small towns, exurbs, and rural areas. The Clinton vote was strongest in the metropolitan regions of the country. America today, as one British columnist explained, “is increasingly a country characterized by remarkable geographic segregation” (Vance). Trump supporters regard themselves as having suffered the heavy price for globalization while the educated elite have reaped benefits from the transition from manufacturing to an economy based on information and technology. Like Trump backers who seem to downplay the world system and its global interconnectivity that is larger than Washington’s power to legislate or control, Bacon’s supporters failed to consider that their economic woes had more to do with mercantile policies in England, related to the global competition between imperial powers, than the local policies implemented by Berkeley. In short, Trump supporters are Baconites and Clinton supporters are Berkeleians.

Another similarity is the eliteness of populist leaders. Everyone knows that Trump is not a poor, working-class fellow. Neither exactly was Bacon. According to Richard Hofstadter (1970, 57), Bacon was “A young aristocrat with a short, shady past.” One does not have to hate Trump in order to know that he has had a sketchy past in numerous business dealings. And while Bacon’s home was no match to the penthouse condominium of Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue in New York, his 850-acre plantation was “no ‘Plain Jane’ frontier blockhouse,” as excavations have shown a home of “considerable amount of brick decoration” and “a fine tile roof and … tile floor” and a fireplace made of limestone (Purbeck marble) imported from England (Mouer, 54, 55).

Even Zinn (40), very much a populist historian, was not able to regard Bacon as anything other than an elite who aligned himself with the people for his own personal advantages. For Bacon, opening up new land for settlement in Indian territory had possibilities for his own economic advantage. According to Zinn, Bacon was of a developed class, socially and economically, “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 1676 to the House of Burgesses.” According to Kathleen M. Brown, Bacon’s rebellion consisted of two factions: “those of Virginia’s homegrown elite, with their precocious claims to a distinctive Anglo-Virginian identity, and those of largely disenfranchised but armed and politically sensitive white male householders” (p. 140). So, again, another uncanny similarly to the present: the aggrieved white male, in most cases with less education than those exercising political power, being led by an elite white male who had something to gain from tapping into the frustration.

Ironically, Bacon was a cousin in marriage to Berkeley, who was forty years older. He benefited from nepotism in being appointed to the Governor’s Council, but the two relatives soon clashed over Indian policy. Bacon wanted a military commission to go after Indians; Berkeley wanted to keep Indians calm in order to avoid the kind of Indian problems then occurring in New England with King Philip’s War. Bacon went on raids against Indians anyway and for that was branded a “rebel” by Berkeley. Here is another tension between populists and those who are in favor of the status quo: the former want change, even if it should be chaotic and unpredictable, whereas the latter are more concerned with maintaining stability.

The governor called an election to secure a vote of confidence, but that led to Bacon getting elected to the House of Burgesses. In the end, Berkeley was forced under pressure by a mob of 500 to give Bacon the military commission he had asked for in the first place. The House then went on to pass “Bacon’s Laws” to change taxation and liberalize rules on suffrage and who can hold office, although scholars note that these reforms were underway prior to the rebellion and had little to do with Bacon who nevertheless sought to take the credit (as Trump is very likely to do should some Obama initiative later prove to be beneficial). At the height of the conflict in September 1676, Bacon burned down Jamestown. But the next month he died of dysentery and the rebellion petered out. Twenty-three conspirators were executed prior to Berkeley being relieved of his post by King Charles II. An English military force of 1,100 was sent to Virginia under Colonel Herbert Jeffreys, who would go on to serve as the colony’s lieutenant governor.

He's no Al Green
Not the electoral result he was looking for.

When Berkeley called for an election for the House of Burgesses, he was like recent political actors who misread the signs of the times and the sentiments of the majority. In England, for instance, Prime Minister David Cameron called for a referendum on Brexit, thinking people surely would not vote for leaving the EU. Similarly, during the 2016 presidential primaries, some leaders of the Democratic Party were utterly delighted that Trump might be the GOP standard-bearer, thinking people in the general election surely would reject him for the presidency of the United States. In both cases, the miscalculation was tragically Berkeleian.

Bacon’s Rebellion and American Populism          

There has long been a debate about whether or not Bacon’s Rebellion was a prelude to the American Revolution (McCulley and Loux). Historians are divided over that, but probably a majority think it was not any kind of dress rehearsal for 1776.[1] I would argue that Bacon’s Rebellion was a prelude to American populism. This kind of populism was worrisomely recognized by the founders of the American nation, especially the framers of the Constitution who tried to put in safeguards for having a republic instead of a democracy and the “rabble” aspect that goes along with it.

Perhaps one reason there is this inclination to link Bacon’s Rebellion with the American Revolution is that in both instances there was issuance of a Declaration by those leading the uprisings. But we should keep in mind the psychological insight offered in the Declaration of Independence:

Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.

The statement in this section of Jefferson’s Declaration goes on to reference “the patient sufferance of these Colonies” that would have resonated with the people one hundred years earlier when living under Berkeley’s governorship.

Bacon’s Rebellion was not about revolution, but about a desire to change what was happening, to go back to how the aggrieved believed things should be run. This is often what is infused in populist thinking: the idea that something is wrong and needs to be put back in place. The difference may be subtle, but revolution is not the same as populism. When populists rant against “the system,” they are ranting against what they perceive is a corruption that has taken place. They are not against the system as much as they are against what the system, in their minds, has become. The Declaration of Independence goes on to enumerate the grievances against the king, twenty-seven in total, listed from minor infractions to major ones (in the eyes of the revolutionaries), as a justification for declaring independence from England.

The Declaration issued during Bacon’s Rebellion is somewhat different, though the topic of “unjust taxes upon the commonalty” is the first mentioned grievance. Unlike the Declaration of Independence, Bacon’s Declaration is clear to indicate that the rebellion is not against the king. In fact, there are repeated references to how the leader of Virginia “wronged his Majesty’s prerogative and interest,” favored Indians over “his Majesty’s loyal subjects,” and “traitorously attempted, violated, and injured his Majesty’s interest” (Bacon).

Like many populist movements, the cause is heavily personality-based. The Declaration of Nathaniel Bacon is about Nathanael Bacon. The document is issued in his name. One cannot help but think of how Trump is of a similar force of personality, he who made his name a commercial brand, as exemplified by all of the buildings and golf courses marked “Trump.” Populism, though pitting itself against elitism, seems to gravitate toward figureheads, whether they be William Jennings Bryan, Theodore Roosevelt, FDR, Huey Long, Sarah Palin, or Bernie Sanders—or in the case of Britain today, Nigel Farage, the leader of the UK Independence Party (UKIP), a figure whom Trump “greeted like a long lost friend” during a meeting at Trump Tower shortly after the US election. Trump obviously regards this man as his British counterpart (d’Ancona). In contrast, the newly elected Trump did not get around to calling British Prime Minister Theresa May until after first communicating with the heads of state of Japan, India, South Korea, Australia, Mexico, Turkey, Egypt, Israel, and Ireland (Glaze and Beattie).

The victories of populism are sometimes difficult to assess. For instance, following the collapse of Bacon’s rebellion, his supporters won some concessions. In 1677, a new treaty opened up most of the disputed territory (north of the York River) for settlement, and Berkeley was called home to London and relieved of his governorship. The poorer settlers wanted access to new land, as the reliance on tobacco necessitated such expansion if any planter hoped for a chance to get ahead economically. Populists have been described as bees; after they sting the state, they die. But it can be added that often the sting has a lingering effect with some change in policy.

In his commentary on the election, the British journalist Tim Stanley dramatically suggested that Trump successfully plugged into the same current of thinking as the one that propelled the American Revolution:

Trump said to the voters: you were once great, you are great no longer, but I will make you great again. It’s a simple pitch but a historically profound one. The American revolution was built upon the promise of freedom and the dignity of the working man. Clinton never got that. Trump won because, like it or not, he’s as American as apple pie.

Although Trump did indeed pledge on election night, “The men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer” (Gardner), that hardly places him in the same light and luster as 1776. In actuality, Trump was borrowing from the Tea Party that borrowed from William Graham Sumner, the Yale professor who in the early 1880s characterized “the forgotten man” as the one who plays by the rules but is forced by the government to carry the burden of others (Hickel, Jr.).

As for style, sentiment, and stature, Trump is better understood in the light of 1676. Trump cannot be compared with figures like George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, men who actually had a background of public service prior to ascending to the office of President of the United States. Trump does, however, parallel Nathanael Bacon, who exploited the resentment of the struggling Virginia colony’s white men, joining with them in blaming Indians and Berkeley for their economic woes. Trump largely tapped into the resentment of “red state” America, joining the “forgotten” white males in blaming immigrants, minorities, foreign trade deals, and the federal government for the nation’s perceived stalled economic progress. Still, students of history in the future will have the right to be confused over why there was such resentment in America in 2016 after the country had vastly recovered from the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. Undoubtedly, more than anyone else a higher percentage of whites, including many Trump supporters, had benefited from that economic recovery.

Roger Chapman is Professor of History at Palm Beach Atlantic University, and the editor of Culture Wars: An Encyclopedia of Issues, Viewpoints, and Voices (2010), editor of Social Scientists Explain the Tea Party Movement (2012), and co-editor of the three-volume Culture Wars in America: An Encyclopedia of Issues, Viewpoints, and Voices (2014). His work has also appeared in journals such as the Journal of Cold War Studies, Film & History, the Journal of Religion and Popular Culture, and the Florida Historical Quarterly.

Works Cited

Bacon, Nathaniel. “Bacon’s Rebellion: The Declaration.” 1676. Web.

Beverly, Robert. The History and Present State of Virginia. London, R. Parker, 1705. Web.

Brown, Kathleen M. Good Wives, Nasty Wenches, and Anxious Patriarchs: Gender, Race, and Power in Colonial Virginia. Chapel Hill: U of NC Press, 1996. Print.

Cecil, Nicholas. “Shock result could fuel populist revolt across Europe, warn German leaders.” London Evening Standard, 10 Nov. 2016, 9. Print.

Crerar, Pippa, Sophia Sleigh, and Matt Watts. “Khan: It’s no secret that I’m not a fan of Trump but I wish him well.” London Evening Standard, 9 Nov. 2016, 8. Print.

d’Acona, Matthew. “In his own way, Farage is leading a new political order.” London Evening Standard, 16 Nov. 2016, 14. Print.

Daily Star. “Now it’s official, 2016 is Year of the Clown.” Daily Star [London], 11 Nov. 2016, 19. Print.

Daley, Janet. “Politics just got real—this is democracy as ordinary people understand it.” Sunday Telegraph [London], 13 Nov. 2016, Review sec. 20. Print.

Declaration of Independence. 4 Jul. 1776. Web.

Gardner, David. “‘Forgotten men and women are forgotten no longer.’” London Evening Standard, 9 Nov. 2016, 2. Print.

Glaze, Ben, and Jason Beattie. “Poor Start to Special Relationship.” Daily Mirror [London], 11 Nov. 2016, 4-5. Print.

Hickel, Jr., Flavio. “The Tea Party: A Civil Religious Movement.” In Social Scientists Explain the Tea Party Movement, edited by Roger Chapman, 94-121. Lewistown, NY: Edwin Mellen, 2012. Print.

Hofstadter, Richard. The Age of Reform: From Bryan to F.D.R. New York: Knopf, 1955. Print.

—. The American Republic. Vol. 1, 2d ed. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1970. Print.

Kazin, Michael. “Trump and American Populism: Old Whine, New Bottles.” Foreign Affairs, 6 Oct. 2016. Web.

Kwasi Kwarteng, “We must understand why many Americans will vote for Trump.” London Evening Standard 19 Oct. 2016: 14. Print.

McCulley, Susan, and Jen Loux. “Bacon’s Rebellion.” National Park Service, 1995. Web.

Mouer, L. Daniel. “Digging a Rebel’s Homestead.” Archaeology 44:4 (1991): 54-57. Print.

Murphy, Joe. “Trade and Nato are key as UK gears up for a deal with ‘Brexit President.’” London Evening Standard, 9 Nov. 2016, 9. Print.

Oberg, Michael Leroy, ed. Samuel Wiseman’s Book of Record: The Official Account of Bacon’s Rebellion in Virginia, 1676-1677. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2005. Print.

O’Neill, Jim. “Reasons to be upbeat—and wary—in the wake of Trump-Brexit shock.” London Evening Standard, 10 Nov. 2016, 56. Print.

Rice, James. Tales from a Revolution: Bacon’s Rebellion and the Transformation of Early America. New York: Oxford U P, 2012. Print.

Ryrie, Alec. “The Republic of King Jesus.” Presentation, Gresham College (London), 10 Nov. 2016. Web.

Stanley, Tim. “On reflection, this victory seems obvious.” Sunday Telegraph [London], 13 Nov. 2016, Review sec. 25. Print.

Tahir, Tariq. “‘Britain First …’” Metro [London]. 15 Nov. 2016, 1. Print.

Urwin, Rosamund. “Trump’s ‘triumph’ is being master of the blame game.” London Evening Standard, 10 Nov. 2016, 17. Print.

Vance, J.D. “The coasts and the ‘flyover country’—the great US divide.” London Evening Star, 28 Oct. 2016, 16. Print.

Washburn, Wilcomb E. The Governor and the Rebel: A History of Bacon’s Rebellion. Chapel Hill: Institute of Early American Culture, U of NC Press, 1957. Print.

Watts, Matt. “Embassy demonstrators in fracas with far-right group.” London Evening Standard, 10 Nov. 2016, 6-7. Print.

Wertenbaker, Thomas Jefferson. Torchbearer of the Revolution: The Story of Bacon’s Rebellion and Its Leader. Princeton, NJ: Princeton U P, 1940. Print.

West End Extra. “Donald ‘could learn a thing or two from us.’” West End Extra [London], 18 Nov. 2016, 7. Print.

Zinn, Howard. A People’s History of the United States. London: Longman, 1980. Print.


[1] Wilcomb E. Washburn argues that Bacon’s Rebellion was not a prelude to the American Revolution, debunking the work of Thomas Jefferson Wertenbaker. Michael Leroy Oberg, in an edited volume of primary documents pertaining to the rebellion, shows how Berkeley’s heavy-handed response to the rebellion (arbitrary arrests and confiscation of property) inflamed a situation that perhaps could have otherwise been easily defused. Most contemporary historians who focus on early America side with Washburn over Wertenbaker, although both of these works have been criticized for flaws and shortcomings. For this article, the narrativity of Bacon’s Rebellion is drawn from these mentioned sources, as well as from Howard Zinn and the National Park Service, and are all listed in the bibliography.