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tv   400th Anniversary of Virginia General Assembly - Part 2  CSPAN  September 2, 2019 8:51pm-9:31pm EDT

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here. including the president pro tem of the senator steve newman. i want to thank all the legacy groups that are here , as i looked out i thought i young lady from the dar who is looking very patriotic. i want to thank all the members of the general assembly who are here. and with that and the appropriate benediction that we just heard we will adjourn and continue the commemoration activities over at the jamestown settlement. i think all of you for being here. [ applause ]. >> we continue with the second part of the 400th anniversary of the first virginia assembly. this is the second of two parts.
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good morning. i am kirk cox the speaker of the house of the virginia delegates. and i am absolutely delighted to welcome everyone here at jamestown settlement at their forward, and those viewing these proceedings on line. the 400th anniversary today of the first and oldest continuous
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represented body in the western hemisphere. as our forefathers did on this very day 400 years ago. we assemble here at the birth place of american democracy, jamestown. freedom in the form of democracy began here in virginia. the unforgettable and inspiring event that happened here, it has changed virginia, america , and much of the entire world. the special occasion and commemoration like this is an opportunity to pause and reflect on the history of the 1619, is a retired schoolteacher i taught government for 30 years. i know the year 1619 was pivotal and complicated. since that year it has profoundly shaped the history of america. in the year 1619 saw the
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beginning of highs and lows of america which included the noteworthy democracy in the new world and the ongoing experiment in self-government. also the worst arrival of africans which tragically was the genesis of the shameless evil known as slavery. we know from keen observers that it was the first step in english- speaking settlers that they took promised achievement with difficulty, conflict, and failure. are journey continued towards
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finding and forging a perfect union. it also encourages us to not just look back but to look forward. to lift up our eyes and to envision a better and more fair future as a commonwealth. virginia is more deeply rooted in america soil and history than any part of our country. those of us that honor our fellows the distance are fortunate enough to be elected as a delegate and senators are stewards of that great inheritance. we are fortunate to be among the keepers of the flame of american democracy that began right here at jamestown 400 years ago. elected representatives and six
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elected representatives and 6t 19 from the settlement gathered is an assembly along with gov. george yeardley who was chosen as a speaker with purpose. to pass laws and improve people's lives and livelihood. so early this morning at the memorial church on jamestown island, delegates and senators who represent a portion of these 11 original boroughs were present. just as there predecessors were here 400 years ago today. they along with the governor represented the tribes. and they were representative of where the world began. likewise here at jamestown
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settlement in this re-created church we are joined by certain successors representing the 11 major settlement areas. with us on this is work occasion are two leading participants who attended that first session of the virginia assembly. by special arrangement and the wonders of living history let's hear the voices of the first governor george yeardley . >> good morning. distinguished guest, gentleman
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and kind ladies. it's been a few years that have passed when i returned to virginia in the spring of eckstein 19 i brought with me my commission is the governor of virginia. that is come to be known as the great charter. which we hoped would bring stability to this colony that was suffering under martial law . we have been at peace with the indians for many years. and it was a hindrance. the growth and prosperity , they instructed me to end martial law and to bring justice to the county. it allowed me to call for 11 townsend plantations to send to representatives to the capital where these newly appointed
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burgesses would meet the laws. citizens of virginia did not have to fear because we have brought about a familiar form of government here in virginia where their own interest and concern with drive ledges nation. it would divide power between the governor, counsel, and this new representative assembly, the selected assembly is the voice of the people. it serves as a check on the power and balance of myself and my counsel . and it is my belief that the citizens of virginia have welcomed this method of establishing laws and political
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institutions including this new assembly that will continue to tend to the affairs of virginia for some time to come. today as we mark that first meeting that took place on this same day. some would say that we have brought virginia to justice and government that we knew in england. i call a upon my good friends and counsel. speaker? >> i remember when you and i and 20 by partisans during the
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toward summer of 16 and 19 the first legislative session was held in the choir of the church it was a most convenient place were that we could find. it is true the governor appointed me to serve as a speaker for the whole assembly. not because of my kinship to his wife. made , rather i was the only member of the assembly that started as a elective member. i drew upon my experience to organize our assembly and all the matters into a ready method. the first task was to review and discuss
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the new charter of 1618. after close examination this charter received the applause of the whole assembly. the ending of martial law, to those who had long labored here, gave us encouragement and hope. another great task was to propose the welfare and peaceable government of this commonwealth. previous instructions were reviewed by committee. those instructions were debated 18 of
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them were given one review more and then did pass the final consent of the assembly. i recall several of these laws dealt with label contracts and the particular commodities deemed profitable. another 18 laws were debated and passed that originated in the minds of those living and working here in virginia. several of these laws promoted religious observances and required ministers to record birth, and death , and marriages among our growing population. other laws safeguarded and regulated trade with native
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indians that were living in great numbers all around us. over five days, 36 laws were created from previous proposals made working on behalf of the inhabitants that elected them. these new laws brought to life by our little flock touched everyone living here. our gen. assembly produced several participants. to clarify some points in the great charter that touched on laws, and inheritance of new settlers. and a detailed report of the legislative and legal
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proceedings , i was charged with writing and sending across the ocean. i am told that this report , 30 pages of manuscript survived and is now known to all of you. i can testify the newly planted assembly remains very much in doubt. i witnessed the crown dissolving the charter, and converting it into a crown colony, less than six years after our first assembly. protecting the valuable rights to elect their own body and
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maintaining a growing voice. on this special day, my charge is this. keep the promises in the great charter. and follow the rules for the benefit of the people in the commonwealth. a do a due not long ago they said they
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obligation of a historian our storyteller is to put yourselves in the shoe of the people. from the presentations that we just witnessed, that statement is clear. thank you governor george yeardley. i hope that you will find time to see the original eckstein 19 minutes of the first ledges late of assembly. the first time in 400 years. the national archives of the united kingdom. and the public exhibit for several months here in the jamestown settlement. it's my pleasure to welcome our next speaker who has a marvelous way of making history, life,
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jon meacham is a talented historian, and is one of the preemptive buffers. he is popular as a best-selling author. his sense of writing his help those young and old find knowledge and understanding, wisdom and purpose in history. he tells stories as well as anyone writing about america. the leg is the of james town is complex. that through american evolution, this commemoration. we have been working hard to make sure that it is examined thoughtfully, and in full historical context. here as with other aspects of history we can find contradictions. between principles and deed done
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. we can , should and ours sorting through this. to better educate us all. that is why having an historian historian is a tremendous opportunity. readers can go along with you when you are telling stories if you write it as it was lived. without knowing the end. we are in the flow of history, and none of us knows the end. the stories of american history have been eliminated, clarified, and enriched. i cannot think it is much more
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on this important anniversary. ladies and gentleman please join me in a warm welcome for jon meacham. >> thank you. whenever i think about being preemptive i go back to a moment, a woman ran up to me , that doesn't happen enough or even ever. and she said oh my god it is you. a nice yes , that is hard to argue with. she said your books meant so much to me. i love them. will you wait right here. i'm going go buy your book and have you sign. and i said yes ma'am.
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and i thought this is the way that the world is supposed to be. women are supposed to run up to you and by the. and then she brought back john grisham's latest novel. so whenever i think i'm that distinguish. i remind myself that there somebody with a forged copy of the runaway jury. you have to sign it. this is significant, for you to have a tennessee native come to you on this day. i am delighted. the story that we commemorate started with dreams, god , and gold. not necessarily in that order 98 of those words were about
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carrying religion to those who live in darkness and ignorance of the true god. god and manna propelled people across , and we are here where they successfully argued for reformed officials of the
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company authorize the governor to oversee the selection of two male settlers from each of the areas this new form of government divided power between the governor and the council appointed and the new gen. assembly the first meeting took place four centuries ago on this very day. from tuesday, july 30 through sunday, august 4. our friend sec. of the colonies served as speaker. six appointed council members attended. and so representative government in the new world began. as abraham lincoln
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reminded us. we cannot escape history. i would argue that we should not want to , or try to. by our heritage and hope we as americans are charged with the sacred duty, to fulfill the injunction that too much is given as much expected. as americans we have been given much, and those gifts are rooted here at jamestown. gifts of liberty, opportunity, self government , and what lincoln said was of fair chance to lead lives of prosperity. reflecting on who we have been , where we are, and where we might go. to those who come before is to be armed. if the men and women of the past
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with all their flaws, limitations, could press on through ignorance raises them, sexism, greed, we to take another step towards a more perfect union. history has the capacity to bring us together. our story is ultimately one of obstacles overcome, crisis resolved, and freedom expanded. the story of jamestown and america is about the best of us and the worst of us there was human enslavement, possession of the native inhabitants, some were essential to the survival of james town , the subjugation of women. there is a mixed record of
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welcoming immigrants, and yet so much of american history is captured in the phrase and yet. in this place representative government, government of the people began. this first assembly was the forerunner of the congress of united states. and of all other american legislative bodies. in the fullness of time this first planting blossomed into a flowering of democratic in the tuitions and free nations. a development in which american leadership played an indispensable role. we should note that the first thanksgiving in america can be traced not to the yankees at plymouth rock, the two are
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fellow southerners here in virginia. an instance of new england imperialism that we should not reward. after all, do we not throw better parties? i will say so. i'm a graduate of the university of the south , my best friend was from lynchburg, tennessee. my best friend was jack daniels. we should not sentimental lies the american experience. we must be honest, and our honesty should lead us to do all that we could do to be about the work of justice, and august 1619, the white lion arrived at present-day hampton. it held 20 africans who had been traded in exchange for provisions, originally captured
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by portuguese slavers, these were the first recorded africans to arrive in english north america. and they were treated as slaves were in other european colonies regard just age or gender. the irony was not lost on the old world. how is it that we hear the loudest yell for liberty from among the drivers of niekro's? how is it? this is how. we are not perfect , we are a fallen and sinful people. we get some things right, and something's wrong. we try and fail, but we must try again and again. for only in trial is progress possible. and the story of america is the
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story of progress. at our best we reach out, look ahead, and we dream big. at our best we close the gap between the ideals and the real . the test of the nation -like the test of an individual cannot be perfection, perfection is not possible until the arrival of the new heaven and earth. the test determines how often we heed our best angels rather than our worst instincts. the work of america is not done. the america revolution and the america evolution unfolds still. that is our blessing and our burden. extremism, racism, isolationism, xenophobia, driven by the fear of unknown
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spikes and periods of stress. . like our own. as we gather here, faith and institution is ebbing. too many seem interested in producing heat instead of shutting light. politicians reward the clenched fist more than the open hand and a welcoming word history teaches us that we have always grown stronger the more widely we have opened our arms and the more generously we have interpreted the most important sentence ever rendered in english. thomas jefferson's assertion that all men are created equal. i will say that i am careful making hyperbolic claims because of the story the texas
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school board candidate who said that if english was good enough for our lord jesus christ, it is good enough for texas. that's in tech so we won't worry about that. i also point out that if it wasn't for tennessee, texas would still be part of spain and they don't like that at all. the first time i met george w. bush he laughed and thought it was pretty funny. we do not build monuments to people who build walls, we build monuments to people who open doors. we honor liberators , not captors. the battle between hope and fear, between what is right and convenient, between the larger good and personal interest , those are the battles fought in our
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common experience , and they unfold still. and the terrain on which light and dark content is not being less in the arena of the soul. socrates believed that the soul was the animated force of reality. in the second chapter of genesis the soul was like itself. and the lord breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and man became a living soul. in the greek you test that when jesus greater love hath no man than this that a man lay down his life for his friends , the word for life could also be translated as whole. our history is determined , our lives are determined by the outcome of the clashes within our soul come individually and nationally , between liberty , slavery , between kindness and cruelty. good dwells in our
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national soul yet there is evil to. good and evil. such as the stuff of the unfolding lives of nations. during a secret summit at the sea in august 1941, roosevelt and churchill attended a church service , today they saying onward christian soldiers, afterword fdr remarked that onward christian soldiers , we are christian soldiers and we will go on with god help. and on we went. a product of that rendezvous was the atlantic charter, and the struggle against passage and
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fascism. there may not have been a charter , more broadly without a jamestown there may not have been a lexington and concord or a philadelphia and 1776 , or seneca falls in 1848 or in omaha beach in 1944, or a selma in 19 x defies , or stonewall in 1969 , or berlin in 1989. in our search , our hunger for a way forward, i would commend the utility of his jury, the kind of remembrance that we are undertaking at this hour. the beginning of wisdom lies in appreciation of the past which
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isn't dead, what can we learn from the kind of history that we contemplate today? that the perfect should not be the enemy of the good , the compromise the oxygen of democracy the? and that we learn the most from those who came for , not by gazing up at them adoringly, or down on them condescendingly, but looking them in the eye and taking them for what they were , human. not perfect heroes or irredeemable villains. knowing the history of freedom not only illuminates but enables a person who understands that the past and all of his glory understands that the path of civilization is upward, forward,
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to the broad and summers upland. for all its faults jamestown was its place where cultures came together setting the stage for racial, ethnic, and religious diversity, capitalism is rooted here. jamestown is an mirror of who we were and who we are. dreamers and that do hers doers came here. in our finest hours america has been about life liberty and the pursuit of happiness not just for some but for all and in not history history rooted here in this place lies our hope. thank you.
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>> thank you. for that applause. i want to think all of you for those powerful remarks. we are truly grateful. the joint assembly will now come to order sgt. at arms
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the clerk will call the role representing the 11 original boroughs. delegate brewer, center case, sen. cosgrove speaker kirk cox , delegate ingram, sen.
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mason, delegate mullen, sen. norman, delegate police. all members are present. >> the joint assembly will stand in recess and reconvene on the mall.
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next president donald trump delivers remarks on the fourth hundred 400th anniversary of the first virginia generalist humbly. this is part three of the three- part ceremony. >>

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