Colonial Williamsburg


Statue of Patrick Henry, Colonial Williamsburg





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Historic first capitol of Virginia, now devoted to colonial America through living history and period architecture.


1. Bruton Parish Church
Built in 1715, the current church was the third Anglican Church for a parish founded in 1660.
2. The Capitol
Reconstructed in 1934, the Capitol originally contained the House of Burgesses, the governor’s council chambers, and the general court.
3. George Wythe House
This brick home was built in 1750 for Wythe, who was a lawyer, teacher of law, and a signer of the Declaration of Independence.
4. Governor’s Palace
Built 1708—20 for the colonial governors of Virginia, it later served as the residence for Patrick Henry and Thomas Jefferson during their respective terms as governor.
5. Raleigh Tavern
Originally built in 1717 and named after Sir Walter Raleigh, it was rebuilt in 1932; this is where the House of Burgesses met when it was dissolved in 1773.
6. Peyton Randolph House
Originally built in 1715, it was purchased in 1721 by Randolph’s father — who built a second structure — and willed to his son. Peyton Randolph built a middle structure to unify the whole.

America had a common language, unlike the European nations, none of which was linguistically homogeneous. in 1789 the majority of Frenchmen did not speak French but were divided by a variety of provincial patois. Englishmen from Yorkshire were incomprehensible to those from Cornwall and vice versa. By contrast, Americans could understand one another from Maine to Georgia. It was very obvious why this should be so, said John Witherspoon, president of Princeton. Since Americans were much more unsettled, and move frequently from place to place, they are not as liable to local peculiarities, either in accent or phraseology.

Gordon S. Wood
Empire of Liberty: A History of the Early Republic, 1789–1815 (2009)