Arrest of Nathaniel Bacon
Nathaniel Bacon, a member of Virginia's Council of State and a leader of the rebellion against Governor Sir William Berkeley in 1676, is seized by Berkeley's agents in the streets of Jamestown, Virginia. This early twentieth-century illustration of Bacon's arrest is featured in Edward S. Ellis's young adult novel The Cromwell of Virginia: A Story of Bacon's Rebellion (1905), a work dubbed by the New York Times as "history made pleasant for the juvenile palate." Bacon's Rebellion has inspired much writing, including more than a dozen works of fiction.
Scholarly interpretations of Nathaniel Bacon's motivations and his significance vary widely. Early in the nineteenth century the Virginia historian John Daly Burk presented Bacon as a patriotic precursor to the American revolutionaries of 1776—a widely popular interpretation that was used by Ellis in his novel. Bacon's Rebellion is one of the most important and controversial events of Virginia's history, and scholars continue to debate its causes and its significance.