The Revolution in Williamsburg

Parliament's passage of measures such as the Currency Act of 1764 and the Stamp Act of 1765 gave rise to suspicion about British intentions towards America. The laws also eroded the belief of many Virginians that Britain "had a particular regard and predeliction" for the province that set it apart from other colonies, rendering it more a fourth dominion, rather than just another American province, and in doing so ate away at the foundations of Virginia's justly celebrated British patriotism.

Virginia's vigorous and persistent opposition to the Stamp Act and subsequent measures, such as the Townshend duties, helped to both reaffirm and reshape its ancient self-image as the recipient of the benefits of British constitutional liberty. Despite increasing anxiety among some Virginians that the colony was, along with the rest of the British world, sliding into a moral crisis brought on by too much luxury and not enough moderation—along with the pernicious influence of slavery—it became clear to many in Williamsburg that they still had enough vigor and virtue to defend British freedom, even against the British government.

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