Colonial Williamsburg Capitol
The Capitol has been reconstructed to the way it was built in 1701. It is an H design that was devised for the specific purpose of the government. The upper and lower houses were on opposite sides of the building and there was a neutral committee room in the middle. You will see the elegant court room that the upper house heard major cases of the area in. The upper house consisted of 12 men that were appointed by the King. The meeting room for the upper house also was elegant with very nice cushioned chairs and a fine table.
The lower house consisted of 130 representatives that were elected and they sat on benches along the sides of the room. There was a table in the middle for the scribes to record their sessions. The leader, or speaker, was elected by the group and sat in the speaker's chair. They have this actual chair that was saved and preserved through the years here for you to see. The lower house had several smaller rooms set up upstairs where they would break up into committees to review all the legislation that they had to vote on.
This is the building where Virginia legislators on May 15,1776, voted unanimously to declare their independence from England. Nearly two months later the Continental congress in Philadelphia adopted the Declaration of Independence.
The Capitol had a courtroom in it. There were two choices if you were convicted. Death or a burn on the hand that would be recognized by everyone as belonging to a felon. There was a big room upstairs with an old map of the territories on it. There were also rooms where the people met to make the laws.
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