Bacon's Rebellion was a key turning point in reflecting the times and struggles with which the settlers identified with. After reading both the Bernard Bailyn essay and Edmund Morgan's ideas on the issue I think they both had one similar point. The most common theme with the two authors dealt with the economic situation of the time. The fact that the poor were poor and the rich were making money with the poor being in despair. Other than the idea of economic status among the colonists that is where I believe these two authors draw the line. Morgan tends to believe that Bacon's Rebellion did more for slavery and less for its actual cause of helping the frontier colonists with the Indians. Bailyn's views of the rebellion are more directed toward the political side and the affects the rebellion had on that.
Morgan's view on Bacon's Rebellion and events before and after it.
Morgan asserts that slavery emerged in large degree in response to economic change in the Chesapeake. From 1607-1640 Morgan's analysis of economic development and slavery were as follows: search for an export crop, "Tobacco Boom" of the 20's, extreme sexual imbalance, high mortality rates and lack of social and institutional stability. The dominant theme was a mania for producing tobacco, which depended upon a large supply of labor and bringing lots of land under cultivation. There was a seemingly reversal of Old World patterns: labor rich, land poor- land rich, labor poor. Mortality statistics were terrible, a 30% mortality rate over 15 years for the first generation. Unlike the Old World, where wealth was based on control of land, wealth in the southern colonies was based on the ability to command and control labor.
More men were present than women. These were usually young, single men who came over as indentured servants to work in tobacco fields. It was a frontier society that was unstable, difficult to control, and with little resemblance to the Old World they left behind.