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Edmund Morgan

The many lives of Nathaniel Bacon

One of the most powerful insights Edmund Morgan offered us over his long and illustrious career was that Bacon’s Rebellion, its context, and its aftermath provide an early roadmap for the history of race relations and its intersection with class politics in American history.(1) Unfolding a story of opportunities lost, Morgan suggested that Bacon’s Rebellion in 1676 marked a turning point in the history of slavery in Virginia and the southern colonies more broadly. Up till then slavery was not yet the central institution it would later be, as both indentured servants and slaves formed the underclass of early Virginia. Read more