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Politics in Colonial Virginia


The first European settlers were loyal subjects of the English King George II. They established a colony in Virginia for the purpose of creating trade goods and sending them back to England. In time, the colonists came to resent their obligations to the crown, and began to move toward independence.


Now what: the United States had won its independence, but was adrift without a central government or a constitution. A new government was built based on egalitarian principles, in contrast to England's tradition of hereditary power.

Biographical Material:

Meet some of the minds who conceived the model for a government whose power lies in its subjects. Pressed into greatness at the dawn of war, the ideas of these founders are revered as core American principles.

  • George Washington

    Considered one of the founding fathers, a general in the Virginia militia, and first president of the United States of America.

  • Thomas Jefferson

    Scholar, governor of Virginia, writer of the Declaration of Independence, and considered one of the founding fathers.

  • George Wythe

    First Virginia signer of the Declaration of Independence, framer of the federal Constitution, and instrumental in the design of the seal of Virginia.

  • St. George Tucker

    Lawyer, trader, inventor, scholar, professor, judge, essayist, poet, gardener, and stargazer.

  • Peyton Randolph

    Revolutionary leader, Attorney General of Virginia Colony, and chairman of the first and second Continental Congress.

  • Patrick Henry

    Lawyer, patriot, orator, and participant in virtually every aspect of the founding of America.

  • Richard Henry Lee

    Planter who was a defender of colonial rights and was aligned with Patrick Henry as a strong opponent of the Stamp Act.

  • George Mercer

    Surveyor, military officer, and for a brief time, stamp collector for the colonies of Maryland and Virginia.


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