Dec 15, 2012 - Museums, Travel, USA, Virginia    No Comments

Colonial Williamsburg, Part Six: The Capitol

The Capitol was my favourite part of my day in Colonial Williamsburg. I was the only person on the tour, so the interpreter and I had a discussion rather than a canned talk since I had more than enough knowledge about that part of history to do so.

It was here that American history finally came into a North American context for me. Until 1776, the U.S. and Canada had a shared history through their shared governance. The capitol feels like any legislative building in Canada because it was like a mini parliament.

It’s fascinating to see how the U.S. broke away from that British governance while Canada has stuck with it. Who our respective peoples are today and why we are the way we are makes so much more sense to me. I really don’t get people who do not find history relevant. We cannot understand our present selves without understanding how our histories shaped us.

The interpreter was refreshing. Rather than spewing a lot of American propaganda that you hear over and over in schools, she told history like it was, that Virginia was the original colony and the crucible of an independent United States, not Massachusetts and all that Plymouth Rock nonsense.

She even brought up the Quebec Act and asked for a Canadian perspective on it (which is pretty much the American perspective). I did one better and gave her the French-Canadian perspective, and that launched yet more discussion about oppression in all its manifestations at the time our continent’s political future was borne and how the echoes resonate today.

I won’t bore you with all that we discussed, but we kept being kicked out of whatever room we were in until we reluctantly had to part ways when she was told she had to take another tour. I wish I had gotten her name. She really made my day.

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