Colonial Williamsburg Research Division Web Site

Choosing Revolution

The “Choosing Revolution” story line traces the beginnings of the new nation by exploring the complex decisions every Virginian faced as the colony moved toward independence. For further understanding, please read the key points for this story line.

Was There an American Common Man?
Was there an American—or even a Virginia—common man? The answer is obvious: yes! But nothing is ever that simple. As I have pondered such a seemingly straightforward question, the fact that the answer seemed so obvious troubled me. I am not sure I have completely resolved the problem that puzzled me, but I think I have pinpointed its source.
The White Loyalists of Williamsburg
The climactic moment in Williamsburg The Story of a Patriot comes when John Fry answers John Randolph’s question whether he, too, is going home: “I am home.” The movie quickly moves to resolution with John Fry bidding his son farewell as he marches off to war and the old flag is replaced by the flag of a new state. John Randolph’s leave-taking is portrayed as cordial; Fry and Randolph shake hands as respected friends.
The World Turned Upside Down: Williamsburg During the War of Independence
By ten o’clock on the morning of July 15, 1779, the free citizens and inhabitants of Williamsburg had finally gathered in front of the James City County/Williamsburg courthouse. They were in a sullen and angry mood. Several concerned residents, not the town’s officials, had called this extraordinary town meeting. At issue was the frightful state of the economy.