"Gentlemen may cry peace, peace—but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me,”cried he, with both his arms extended aloft, his brows knit, every feature marked with the resolute purpose of his soul, and his voice swelled to its boldest note of exclamation—“give me liberty, or give me death!"-from icitizenforum
Nearly a month later, on April 18, 1775, the "shot heard 'round the world" was fired at Lexington and Concord in Massachusetts. Virginian Mann Page furiously galloped 100 miles from Fredericksburg to Williamsburg to relay the news to the Speaker of the House, Peyton Randolph.
There were differing opinions on how to react, considering Governor Dunmore had recently had the gunpowder taken from Williamsburg's magazine in the middle of the night.
Mann Page and others were prepared to gather men, arms and march whereas the speaker insisted on a posture of defense but no offense.
Mann Page dutifully obeyed orders and road off to relay Randolph's message.
After this scene, the camera captured an interview with Peyton Randolph, Mann Page and modern day historians, fielding questions about revolution from the audience on the street and from the internet. Although we had had plans to go down for the day for this unique experience, a last minute glitch prevented those plans. At least we got to see everything on-line. The kids sat with me at my laptop and my husband watched from his computer. Although I had wanted to ask a question regarding Patrick Henry and never got to, I was tickled that Mann Page spontaneously brought him into the conversation for the interview! My favorite comment from Peyton Randolph was that he is a lawyer and whenever he sees a legal document more than a page long, you know there is trickery afoot! (How does he know about today's politics?) We also loved watching the banter between historical 18th century personas with 21st century people. When one of the historians talked about the stories in Revolutionary City, Mann Page interrupted him and exclaimed that these are not stories but actual lives! Everyone was laughing, even the historian, but Mann Page is correct! Every story from Revolutionary City is indeed about real incidences with real people who actually lived in 18th century Williamsburg and had to ponder about their participation (or not) in the American Revolution. It is easy for us to make judgement calls, since we have the luxury to know the end of the story. Revolutionary City helps visitors to understand the past like the present in more ways than one. Not only did those people have to make decisions like we do, without knowing the outcome, but many of the things that happen politically today is the same as what happened in the past. History repeats itself because people are people the worldwide over, with the same goals and expectations for better or for worse.
Another favorite scene was with Mrs. Randolph. This was a rare moment to hear her take on politics because she will not discuss them on the streets since ladies back then pretty much left political matters to their husbands. However she had something quite profound to discuss. She posed a question about how patriotism or loyalists are truly the same or truly different. I like the way she put it much better. You can watch the entire program on Colonial Williamsburg's Connect!