When we visited Colonial Williamsburg recently, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I wondered if an historical site that pertains to the American Revolution would have any meaning to me. It did.
After our arrival, we signed up for an orientation walk. The guide introduced us to Colonial Williamsburg and gave us the latest news – from spring 1775. At the end, she asked us: “Liberty or loyalty?”
I thought this was a very interesting question, because as a Canadian (and yes, Canada did exist as another British colony at that time), I leaned towards loyalty. But as someone in the the midst of a revolutionary city, I could see the case for liberty as well. So this was a decision that could not be made lightly.
We continued to visit the sights and talk with the people of Colonial Williamsburg (in the guise of costumed interpreters), hearing their stories and concerns, but this did not make my decision any easier. There were parades, notably a fife and drum corps, that although young, was very good. They had all the visitors marching right alongside as they wound their way up Duke of Gloucester Street to the Palace Green.
Our visit concluded with a talk given by George Washington (another actor interpreter), who made a logical, reasoned and passionate speech as to why the Colonies were taking the position they were. This gave me a feel for what drove the patriots to take the course they did. After the talk, he answered questions from visitors. His answers were true to the time and often not what we, with our modern sensibilities, would expect.
Now, for the answer to liberty or loyalty. Ultimately, Canada never joined the American colonies in their revolution against Britain. So, by birth, I am a loyalist; but who knows, if I had lived at the time, I might have made a different decision.