tv 400th Anniversary of Virginia General Assembly - Part 1 CSPAN September 14, 2019 3:05pm-4:01pm EDT
that this was all made up by jews. >> and sunday at 5:00 p.m. eastern, a discussion on shakespeare's influence on politics, and the norman rockwell museum traveling exhibit on fdr and the four freedoms. explore our nation's passed on american history tv, every weekend on c-span3. in 1607, jamestown, virginia was the first english settlement in north america. the summer of 1619 marked the arrival of the first african slaves and the first meeting of the general assembly, which established representative government in the colony. tv, an american history commemoration of the 400th anniversary of the first virginia general assembly. host: governor northam, speaker
cox, all our distinguished guests, welcome to historic jamestown. i had the great honor to serve as jacob -- as chief executive officer for preservation virginia. on behalf of preservation virginia' as board of trustees and our jamestown rediscovery foundation board of directors, i share our appreciation of friends and partners gathered today and acknowledge the leadership of the administration, general assembly, american evolution and jamestown-yorktown foundation. also appreciation for the national park service, tribal representatives and members of the descendents and families society. today we commemorate events that occurred on this site for hundred years ago. speakers whoshed follow me will capture the importance of those proceedings
and the influence still felt today. and the persistent efforts of women who ensured the preservation. the history embodied in these walls would have been lost if not for the dedication of women. women founded the association for the preservation of virginia antiquities, now known as preservation virginia. save and restore disappearing landscapes and buildings that embodied our colonial tradition. the women established an organization, the first in the andon, over 130 years ago, have saved over 500,000 virginia historic places.
never veering from their early ambition to acquire jamestown in 1893, they were successful and obtained 22 acres, including the 17th-century church tower and the foundations of the old churches. thein that first decade, toies convinced congress build a sea wall jamestown from further erosion. preservation virginia founders built alliances with many family descendents and descendent societies represented here to construct this church, monuments in advance of the anniversary. connections between these organizations and this place of historic memory remain resolute. three women years,
launched an excavation to find the foundation where the first assembly met. their careful notes provided clues to marianna hartley, jamestown rediscovery's senior archaeologist who, in 2015, led only the second archaeological investigation of this church. backcarefully peeled layers of concrete and brick to evidence of the 16th 17 church and its foundation -- 27 churchof the 16t and its foundation. there were looking at the cobblestone that literally an figural tape -- literally and figure relatively -- literately and --
figuratively represent the foundations of our democracy. at historic jamestown and all our programs, we embrace the belief that historic places offer singular opportunities to connect present and future with all the aspects of our complex history. standing where history happens offers experiences that are thought-provoking. our preservation efforts strive to capture the complexity of our history and tell the stories of the widely known fingers -- widely known figures john smith, chief powhatan, governor yardley, and indian women who
lived within the walls during the early years, and a teenage girl we called jane, whose burchard remains were found, and an angolan woman captured and brought to jamestown on an english ship. ongoing and research -- ongoing research and interpretation builds on the program initiated in 1994. lrsfddr. james horn -- dr. james horn leads the jamestown recovery team. we follow their footsteps. archaeological remains of the 17 church survive.
james austen powell remarked on the women's legacy, unselfish devotion. the firstommemorate 19, and honor all the men and women who ensured we could stand here with the seeds of our democracy. thank you and welcome. [applause] governor northam: good morning and thank you for being here for this correct -- incredible
commemoration -- tommy: good morning at thank you for being here for this incredible commemoration. historic jamestown, where we are now seated, includes the reconstruction of the jamestown settlement across the causeway and about 22 miles down the freedom parkway, where was ultimately won in 1779, when the world turned upside down at yorktown. this venue includes the first permanent english settlement, when 104 brave young men and 1607.anded may 13, the site includes not just the first english settlement, but the reconstructed remains of jamesal virginia at the
river -- colonial virginia. at the james river and york river you will find sites directly related to the construction of this nation. on this jamestown island itself, the site of the first english of threehe earthworks civil war forts still exist. when you grow up surrounded by it asy, you simply accept part of your surroundings, it is just home, and this is my home. you see ay, when person in the supermarket locally in leggings or a tri-corn hat, you must think nothing of it. it is just part of being home. the same goes for native americans and traditional native dress or women in large, elaborate dresses of bygone eras. it is just home.
do.ne is what we history for many of us is a preoccupation and an occupation. it is a central part of our present and we hope we will always be -- hope it will always be a respectful part of our future. our neighbors explore, teach, and they preserve history as a living. elizabeth, i want to thank you for the many years of what you have done for preservation virginia. elizabeth and i spent a lot of quality time in 2007 and she has done a marvelous job. we took on the 400th anniversary of representative government with all the efforts to better understand the emergence of slavery, the vital role of women then the effects of this colony -- indigenousand native americans. it is a challenge to do better. considerable thought has gone
into it. i honestly do not know what they did in 1719. 1819,ll what they did in because i was here. [laughter] but when the 20th century arrived, news accounts indicate the commemoration mostly involve a sustained salute of our english groups. we do appreciate our english is foundational to our law and our political structure, but now we understand so much more, and it is not by accident we have worked at that. we have examined events that occurred here, including their consequences, intended and unintended, and we have done so much with greater sensitivity and honesty. it seems to me it is our duty,
it is our stewardship that we owe each other, it is our stewardship that we owe america. and then, tell it all as best we can, unvarnished. there is history, and there is metairi -- there is history, and there is memory. i will leave it to the scholars to make distinctions between history and memory, but the two enjoyed a close relationship. someone once wrote that memory remains a subject of reflection and anxiety, not the least because, as people live longer, more survive without connections to the past, and i identify with that. i can't remember things like i used to. technology and a far more open approach to history may have changed that. i hope so. clearly people yearn to better understand their ancestry, but
we need to pull apart and closely examine our national dna. including milestones commemorations such as we are celebrating today offer us an opportunity for greater insight and more in-depth understanding of our ancestry. we want to remember. we want to commemorate. we want to respect our heritage. to be joined by a contemporary leader who embraces ourheritage of parliamentary and legislative form of government. it is my pleasure to introduce to you sir david, former clerk of the house of commons, advisor to the house of commons of the united kingdom and advisor on all its procedure
and businesses. he is the 50th person to hold your role. sometimes i would need him in the senate of virginia. sir david hosted a commemoration keenlyion and has been interested in the history of jamestown and all relevant matters of today. we are honored to welcome sir remarks on the intersection of our international relations, and our impact on the democracy worldwide. sir david. [applause] david: thank you for that generous, generous greeting. i know some of you must have difficulty seeing me staring into the sun, so you can shut your eyes. there is nothing to see. [laughter]
day, on this very day in this very, and place, something very special ofpened, the first meeting an elected assembly and what was then the new world. theas a real assembly, not ceremonial meeting like this, or assertive, discursive and ultimately productive. and it sat here at the hottest time of the year, hot enough to kill one of its members, and we all have some idea of what the weather would have been like through those hot days. and a year later, a very similar assembly was held in bermuda. but it is not just in a spirit of antiquarian as him that this
event 400 years ago needs to be celebrated and acknowledged, because it is important not only notou all here in virginia, only throughout the united states and all its state legislatures which give your country its name, but throughout the idea haserever taken root that people wish to be governed by laws made by their own elected representatives. that is representative democracy. so representative democracy is not a perfect system of government. it is not the rule of the saints, not even in new england. who gatheredses here for hundred years ago were not exceptionally righteous or upright men, and they were all meant.
liable by alloubt the friendship shown to their successors and elected assemblies that followed all over the world. but the ideal of representative 2500racy, first expressed years ago in athens, and here again in jamestown for hundred years ago, has survived those centuries of bruising contact with real people. the jamestown assembly was the andt child of westminster, a first child occupies a very special place in a parent's heart. across the united states, siblings to the north in canada, south across central and latin america, across africa and asia australia.as
there are over 170 members of union,erparliamentary the union of parliaments and assemblies, and over 70 parliamentary commonwealth association, whose thai i am wearing today. forgive the garris colors. greenland has a parliament, at 64 degrees north and 52 degrees largest --e world's the world's smallest parliament, and the falkland islands, which meets in a building smaller than this. it has eight elected members, but a vigorous democratic tradition, as i have experienced. idea, obstructed by authoritarians, resisted by elites, fought by centex, -- fought by cynics, sometimes
again itbut again and rises, the idea of a freely elected representative assembly, wherever people seek freedom and self rule. 1960's, it's and happened in the former european colonies in africa and asia. and central and eastern europe, in the countries freed from soviet control. and most recently, in the countries of the arab spring. and as we meet on the streets of hong kong, the independence of co, legislative council, leg is the principal demand of demonstrators. in sudan, people are fighting and dying for an assembly. so they have one simple remedy,
for which thousands have fought to died over the years, elect their own representatives. and assisting those demands should be a common endeavor between the great representative democracies, foremost among them the united states and the united kingdom. it never was quite that simple. as a december -- as a descendent of british emancipator william youerforce, i'm also aware are marking here the arrival for hundred years ago of the first enslaved african men and women in virginia. in 1619, there was no representative democracy for virginia's women, nor was there justice for those who already occupied the land. and having an assembly did not and could not even begin to right those wrongs.
thelso know that around world, representative democracy is under attack from many different directions. it will not survive on its own, unless it is defended and sustained, and if need be constructively criticized by engaged citizens, which means us. differentemblies are informs. -- different in forms. many have sophisticated buildings and staff, temples of democracy, such as jefferson's wonderful capitol in richmond. but they are not different in substance, and the meeting here for hundred years ago of two dozen hot and bothered early settlers in this little church marks the humble start of a very best form oft the
government is a representative democracy, and that this is the best protection against tyranny and arbitrary government. that is why i am profoundly honored to be bringing you greetings from the mother of 1619 generalto the assembly of virginia, its eldest child. runnymede, where magna carta was is a low-lying, marshy field on the banks of a great river. jamestown echoes that site of freedom and the rule of law. friday, july 30, 1619 was a very special day, and so is today. thank you. [applause]
>> sir david, thank you for sharing those insightful remarks. i have a number of takeaways, but the one that stood out, perhaps we should emulate the falkland islands and reduce our legislature to eight members. i'm just trying to figure out who the other seven are going to be. [laughter] it is my pleasure now to introduce a very distinguished gentleman and friend of mine for many years, governor ralph northam and i have known one another for many, many years. we share a common alma mater, one of the outstanding public colleges and universities in the commonwealth of virginia, sometimes known as virginia military institute. our professional interests took us in different directions in life. governor northam went on to be recognized as a skilled pediatric neurologist, serving
our country as an army doctor, as i struggled to be a humble, small-town country lawyer. our careers circled back towards and the cause of publicly elected service. in some everyone knew each other for better or for worse. they knew each other's strengths, their habits, their inclinations. thethe things that go into shape of our personal conduct. vmi did a, i think world of good for both of us. into, everyone gets shoved a same space. upon you. is imposed tradition is inculcated into and you begin to realize that human leadership
many forms, as do human ideas. democracy, you must work out your differences, groundedrkable system, on sound principle. true isby tried and vitally important to that effort. partisan rhetoric is a whomaction, no matter from it comes. governor northam would agree weh me, i believe, that should all be respectful to our virginia ancestors for having of in motion a system representative democracy that enables our people, our citizens americans, to resolve disputes, remain safe and prosper. are all beneficiaries of that legacy. ladies and gentlemen, it is my distinguished honor and pleasure introduce to you his excellence, the 77rd governor of
virginia,wealth of northam. [applause] >> please be seated. please be seated. well, good morning. it is a tremendous privilege to here today.of you senator, thank you very much for the kind introduction. speakerspeaker cox, it is good e the stage with you. thank you for your leadership in virginia. it is also good to see our lieutenant governor, justin fairfax. for being here. and our attorney general, mark herring, and to all of our legislators. thank you for your leadership in virginia. as was said, i served in the along with my friend, senator norman. presided over that body
as lieutenant governor. that gave me a deep appreciation for the history of the senate as part of our general assembly. i appreciate senator norman's service and leadership in the senate. i feel privileged to be here today,m and all of you commemorating such important events in our state and our country's history. here this morning yearss spot where 400 ago, representative democracy began on this continent. we look back across these 400 of jamestowncolony and from our perspective, in to imagine what life was like in that colony. and it's hard to imagine now when the ideas of america and democracy are so rooted in our
was anhat jamestown experiment that nearly failed. founded to give birth to a new way of governing or to be an incubator for our lofty ideals of freedom. founded to make money for investors and establish a foodhold on a new continent. and it was plagued early on, aom a high death rate and martial law style of governance that didn't exactly make a very attractive place to come. notntial colonists were eager to go to virginia. to save the colony, the men the virginia company started to make changes, to make attractive, with ideas planted by sir edwin sands. they started talking about a different system of government.
directed the creation of a general assembly. 30, in very day, july met here in this place, this church stands on the whichtions of the one in they met. was hot.y, it it was humid. days, they sweated out the details of what would become representative government. they built a framework to settle disputes, pass laws and manage the colony through discussion and legislation. and over the years, and the centuries, as the jamestown colonyand the plymouth became 13 colonies, then states,
then those states become united as america. andideals of freedom representative government have flourished here. this veryd out from ground here in jamestown. only thingnot the that spread from this place. this history, we must also remember that it is more complex. the story of virginia is rooted the simultaneous pursuit of and enslavement, aftere just a few weeks that first general assembly in ship arrived carrying african people taken from angola. here they were sold and sold again. enslaved africans,
people who were not granted the same freedoms that would be to white land-owning colonists. here, those enslaved africans joined the thousands of first people, the members of the virginia indian would also wait centuries to have the same freedoms. today, as we hold these firstorations of the representative assembly in the free world, we have to remember it included and who it did not. paradox of virginia, of america. and of our representative democracy. a full accounting demands that confront and discuss those aspects of our history, and it we look not just to a point in time 400 years in the
past, but at how our commonwealth and our country of thosever the course four centuries. virginia today represents the best of what it means to be american. we know our diversity is our strength. and we welcome immigrants, all who, like those who stood on this spot 400 years to virginia in search of a better life. are open. and our lights are on. matter who you are, no matter who you love, and no matter from, you are welcome in virginia. is nothing, nothing more american than that.
but even as we stand here today, the progress we've made, let's not forget we have a way to go. number ofa number, a inequities that continue to and beyond,ginia to aities, inaccess world-class education, inequities in access to health access touities in business opportunities, to the justice system and to the voting booth. a true commemoration of the founding of our democracy requires us to examine how we our ideals, oro failed to do so. do this workes we not just today but every day and with big speeches or commemorative events but with action. i want to thank the many people
and organizations that have worked to create this event today. virginia.on the jamestown, yorktown foundation. fort monroe authority. and the national park service. and i want to thank all of those people who work to preserve at jamestownere and point comfort, now fort monroe. the archaeologists and historians who worked to understand what happened here, food people ate to the laws that they passed. i have always believed that if comeon't know where you from, you can't know where you're going. to understand america as it is today, and as it will be tomorrow, we have to understand was yesterday. this site is an important part
of that understanding. i am grateful that we come together to talk about all of aspects of our history. and the importance of this place events 400 years ago. are today.s what we and they continue to guide us as a better, ards fairer, and a more inclusive tomorrow. may god be with all of you. thank you very much. [applause] >> governor northam, thank you very much. very attentively to some of the comments that you made. remind everyone that the moniker, the theme of this commemoration, was as a result of a lot of deliberate thought.
was american evolution. and we continue to evolve our form of representative democracy. we continue to evolve the rights and respect and minorities, of and of all races. the chair next to me regretfully today, my friend dating back to before 2007, not beichardson, could with us. she was going to share with us invocation. as i was sitting there, i looked thatme of their remarks, she would have made, and i extracted this part from it. allwould have said, may we be united as brothers and of our, not because differences but because of our love for our god, our country commonwealth. you, ann. changing direction a little bit, oury we have members of
current day virginia general represent the original general assembly who offer some reflections. first, my friend, speaker kirk cox, of the virginia house of the city representing city, he will subsequently be compatriot.my mr. speaker. [applause] >> i'm going to give a few reflections. first i have to say this. i feel like one of the most virginia.ople in it's a beautiful day. boy, 35 years ago, when i
school teacher, i could not imagine standing here today. incredible representative democracy. governor, thank you for your words. citizen legislature. when i think about, you know, virginia and how blessed we are, we just really should be thankful. my remarks, here's the wonderful thing about virginia. 400 years later, 400 years down road of history, despite the growth in po population, the of city, suburbs, the roads, railways and airports, find spot,ily particularly along the rivers, where things have hardly changed at all. what i would say about the district i represent. it's modern and growing and not. you may also reach back through acquire guidance for the future. the more you look, the more you past, the more advantages you give yourself to
today.in the challenges heroics give you inspiration. i've been telling my students i firste or less since walked into a classroom, the early days of the first settlements were rough. full ofe uncertain and physical dangers. life expectancy of an early virginia colonist was abbreviated. it was a young population. and mostly male, between the 16 and 25. few children knew their for the native americans, they were a disruptive force. can it be otherwise? still, the indians had flexibility. houses were not meant to last long periods, because the tribes often moving within the region, from season to season, in order to cultivate new lands game.nd the land itself was managed. the indians cleared the under of the forest with controlled fires. domesticated
animals except dugz. dogs. there were no fences. theythe settlers arrived, could adjust. initially they did not see the lasting very long. eventually they began to push back. we have built bridges. you find a historical park, where reenactments pay tribute to native americans and english my district. 80 miles up the james river, this was the second settlement for king james' son, henry. countrymenenglish and it is open today and tomorrow and most days. you can visit. learn about america's early years ch one thing you will is that governance of the settlement was always difficult.
thehe leadership or governor failed to be responsible to the people and their concerns, then the system failedthe too. nathaniel bacon. a reason why he is memorialized in the virginia state capital to this day. the common political phrasing "time for change" echoes through the centuries. what you find from the beginning is a struggle to combine leadership and accountability. always work. adjustments, dramatic adjustments, were often made. see that process as democracy gains a foothold, played out over the centuries along the james river. i've always tried to emphasize not a fixedis thing. it is changeable and flexible as humanity itself. once said, when it came to history, virginians were strong on what might have been on what is. there's some truth to that. sometimes there was more sentiments than sense. but this event, an combination
>> i don't see how it could get more dynamic or contradictory or or historic. jamestown nearly came to nothing, but it survived to cause the world to pivot in ways that remain a core challenge for our nation. the instinct for representative government was strong here. the virginia company may have opened the door to the general assembly, but it remained open forever more. it was not always so in other parts of colonial america. after the english seized the amsterdam andnew turned it into new york, the instinct for assembly did not take hold until the end of the 17th century. a governor strictly ruled. fewourse, new york gets a things right too. the governor was instructed to of alle all people religions. and he does so. historian,s of one new york becomes a wordily, tolerant, untidy town, quite willing to absorb just about
everyone. some things never change, huh? i mention this. the early inclinations of different colonies, the way we structured and ordered, right from the beginning, lastinghes enduring and charactecharacterristics. dr. horn has written about this in his book published last year, titled simply 1619. at this point, 400 years ago, the leadership of the virginia has its mind set to, quote, fashion a society that promoted an abiding commitment to anglican ritual and god's work. laws, and equitable government and an economy based crops andvariety of industries, trade and public works that would benefit the the multitudes of settlers who would shortly flock unquote.lony, they were just not interested in surviving. intended to prosper. that was the core idea. you can see that, within that
substance ofe thinking that still animates virginia to this very day. out that sir edwin strenuously advocated a commonwealth that would benefit all those that ventured themselves or their money and which represented an improvement on english society, principally respect to the well-being, moral as well as economic of the people. sounds sort of familiar, doesn't it? and sands spended that the the colonynded that would get there by involving the people in their own public affairs. that made a representative body located at jamestown essential. it. is representative democracy starts here and never stops. can go through jim horn's excellent account of 1619 and sameothers about the period and you'll encounter, over and over again, ideas that endured. you will also encounter, and
the part that's difficult, you'll also encounter enslavement. and political participation and basic human rights that have no in america, nor should they have any place anywhere in the world. any way you cut it, the godly ungodlyf jamestown did things. but this is the story. unvarnishedr history. preservation. it inspires denunciation. we learn from both. we learn from it all and with this commemoration, we are telling the whole story. i am privileged and fraitful to this region, a community that has stayed instructive for a very long time. i thank you for your
participation. your recognition of these important moments and thank you for the opportunity to today.hese words [applause] the'd now like to invite reverend. [applause] >> i understand that sir david pointed out that the light from behind is something of a challenge. but i want to offer you the alace that in my case, it's halo. [laughter] >> let us stand and pray. of adventure and sustenance, you created all that is and all that will be.
we offer you thanks for the work in this started here place. you made us a people. and initiated our efforts toward the participation people. in the decisions that guide our nation. in ourntative government land started here. fairness and the common good started here. are grateful for the principles that undergird this work. you are the god of truth and we must tell the truth. some arrived on these shores seeking a better life. here looking for freedom. some arrived seeking economic possibilities. men and women came here as seekers. the arrival of some marked the freedom and shattered the
principles we espouse, making a of your dream for the human family. original inhabitants of this land were pushed aside and of ourd at the hands forebearers. we've ignored the fact that all your image.ade in as we reflect on our beginnings, we pray that we might learn from the past to enable a better future. we pray that we may past off the thes of darkness and put on armor of light, now in this mortal life. we pray that we may be seekers in our time. longing for expansion and opportunity, and equality justice. they seem to be in short supply time. we can't claim to love you without loving our neighbors.
as we love ourselves. we pray that you will move us and galvanize us with such divine love. life is short and we do not have much time to gladden the hearts those who travel the way with us. love.swift to make haste to be kind. and may the divine mystery, who beyond our ability to know, us,made us, and who loved and who travels with us, bless keep us in peace. amen. >> thank you, reverend. a seat.ould have ofore we conclude, on behalf the commemoration, i want to extend our genuine appreciation appearance of governor ralph northam, my friend, the officer of the senate,
who tries to keep me in order, unsuccessfully, justin fairfax and the attorney general of the marknwealth of virginia, herroin. we have a number of representatives here, including gentleman from bedford at newman.g area, steve i want to thank all the legacy groups that are here. saw one ladyut, i from the dar, who is certainly looking very patriotic, that we need to extend our appreciation. i want to thank all of the members of the general assembly here.e and with that, and the appropriate benediction we just reverend, we will now adjourn and continue the commemoration activities over at the jamestown settlement. i thank all of you for being here. [applause]
>> this year marks the 4ndth anniversary of the general in jamestown which established general government in the colony. thisan watch more about anniversary on the american history tv website at c-span.org/history. >> this weekend on american tv, shakespeare enthusiast michael evans discusses how the barred has been invoked in historic and theional debates political lessons that might be learned from his plays, especially the tragedies. preview. to think be tempted that fate is on our side, that our constitutional checks and counteract any serious threats to our system of government. that it can't happen here.
otherwise. teaches liberal democracy is not guaranteed. fragile. without constant attention, including from those of us to work in and around congress, we can lose everything. that is why it's important that our midst, whyin we should read or even better watch. mcbeth.r or all this brings me in conclusion back to the library. in the west garden is a statue of the mischievous spirit from a midsummer night's dream. the base of the statue is a quote from the play. these mortals be.
it's a reminder by way of shakespeare that our status here and requires humility. capital of a great nation. but even so, we are just a few from a tragic mistake. moremakes our work all the important. >> learn more about william shakespeare and u.s. politics sunday at 5 p.m. eastern. is american history tv, only on c-span 3. >> next on history bookshelf, about histh talks book, "in the arena: good citizens, a great republic, and how one speech can reinvigorate america." the speech that inspired the was theodore roosevelt's "citizenship in a republic" address, delivered in in 19 so after roosevelt
left the presidency. mr. hegseth offers his perspective on the piece and how its message applies today. at the heritage foundation in washington, d.c. 2016. >> good morning. welcome to the heritage foundation. we, of course, welcome those who on our heritage.org website on all of these occasions. we do ask, as a courtesy check, our cell phones and other noise-making devices have been muted. our internet viewers are always welcome to send questions or simply e-mailing email@example.com. we will post this following today's program. dr. jamesr event is j., who serves as vice president