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Give Me Liberty The Struggle for Self-Government in Virginia   By: (1879-1966)

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Transcriber's Note

1. This text has a Rule 6 copyright clearance. Research has indicated the copyright on this book was not renewed.

2. The position of some illustrations has been changed to facilitate reading flow.

3. Footnotes are located at the end of each chapter.

4. In general, geographical references, spelling, hyphenation, and capitalization have been retained as in the original publication.

5. Minor typographical errors usually periods, commas and hyphens have been corrected without note.

6. Significant typographical errors have been corrected. A full list of these corrections is available in the Transcriber's Corrections section at the end of the book.

GIVE ME LIBERTY

MEMOIRS OF THE

AMERICAN PHILOSOPHICAL SOCIETY

held at Philadelphia for Promoting Useful Knowledge

VOLUME 46

[Illustration: Thomas Jefferson. Portrait by Thomas Sully in the Hall of the American Philosophical Society.]

GIVE ME LIBERTY

The Struggle for Self Government in Virginia

THOMAS J. WERTENBAKER Edwards Professor Emeritus of American History Princeton University

THE AMERICAN PHILOSOPHICAL SOCIETY INDEPENDENCE SQUARE PHILADELPHIA 1958

COPYRIGHT 1958 BY THE AMERICAN PHILOSOPHICAL SOCIETY

Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 58 9093

PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA BY J. H. FURST COMPANY, BALTIMORE, MARYLAND

Preface

None of the American colonies "will ever submit to the loss of those valuable rights and privileges which are essential to the happiness of every free state," George Washington wrote in October, 1774. Perhaps the British officer to whom he made this statement was startled to have him speak of the colonies as free. Yet at the time the American people were the freest in the world, freer even than the people of England. It was to defend this freedom, not to gain new rights, that the colonists rebelled against Great Britain. For decades they had been governing themselves, so when the British Ministry tried to govern them from London, they would not submit.

To understand what was in the minds and hearts of George Washington, Samuel Adams, Patrick Henry, and the other patriots, it is necessary to know how the colonies became self governing. One must follow the political battles and hard earned victories of their fathers, and grandfathers, and great grandfathers in the colonial Assemblies.

This volume treats of the struggle for self government in Virginia from the founding of Jamestown in 1607 to the Declaration of Independence. The story of the gradual lessening of the King's prerogative, of the weakening of the power of the Governor, of the emergence of the Assembly as the ruling body could be paralleled in other colonies. But it is of especial importance in Virginia, where was held the first representative Assembly in the New World, and which gave so many leaders to the American Revolution.

I wish to express my appreciation to my Alma Mater, the University of Virginia, for its award of a Thomas Jefferson Research Fellowship, without which this volume would not have been written.

THOMAS J. WERTENBAKER.

Princeton, N. J. April 1, 1957.

Contents

PAGE

I. The Cornerstone of Liberty 1

II. Self government 17

III. We Prefer Another Governor 36

IV. Royalty Overthrown 54

V. A Bacon! A Bacon! 76

VI. Reconstruction and Despotism 97

VII. The Glorious Revolution 122

VIII. The Virginia Hitler 133

IX... Continue reading book >>




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