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May 15, 2012

“American Ideas: Declaring Independence” Webcast Presented Live behind the Governor’s Palace May 19

Colonial Williamsburg will present its fifth “American Ideas” interactive webcast live from behind the Governor’s Palace at 3 p.m. Saturday, May 19. The webcast begins with a special edition of the Revolutionary City program, “When in the Course of Human Events: Declaring Independence,” featuring Patrick Henry debating Tory John Randolph after giving his famous “Give me liberty, or give me death” speech in the spring of 1775.

The webcast is hosted by well-known Hampton Roads public affairs broadcaster Cathy Lewis live on Colonial Williamsburg’s “Connect” website Her guests include characters from each of three scenes in the webcast and Taylor Stoermer, Ph.D., Revolution historian from Colonial Williamsburg’s division of research and historical interpretation.

Two additional scenes include “Liberty to Slaves,” which takes place in November of 1775 with enslaved people pondering Dunmore’s Proclamation that granted freedom to slaves who fought for the British, and “The Court of Tar and Feathers,” that deals with the issues of free speech and treason in July 1776.

For the live interactive webcast, “Connect” will take questions from the on-site audience and emails any time before or during the webcast at Viewers can also send questions to the panel during the program via Twitter at or through the live chat room at

Discussion segments between the three scenes will ponder the questions, “What events were taking place in the colonies that prompted Henry to give his speech in the spring of 1775?” and “What choices did free citizens and enslaved people have to make?” The panel will discuss why relating to our history matters and what the role of government should be. From the Boston Tea Party to the current Tea Party movement and the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations taking place across the country today, the very roots of the American Revolution can be found in citizens debating each other about issues of the day.

A Colonial Williamsburg admission ticket or Good Neighbor pass provides access to the live webcast audience area behind the Governor’s Palace gardens.

The May 19 webcast is one in a series of Colonial Williamsburg live webcasts debating our nation’s most basic values and how they shape our republic. In late June, the subject will be “What Does Independence Day Mean to Me,” and the final subject will be “The Election of 2012” in the fall. Interested citizens may visit the Connect website any time to join the debate

The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is the not-for-profit center for history, citizenship and democracy, encouraging audiences at home and around the world to learn from the past. Colonial Williamsburg demonstrates its commitment to expanding its thought-provoking programming as well as its dedication to cultural and historical authenticity on-site and online through the preservation, restoration and presentation of 18th-centry Williamsburg and the study, interpretation and teaching of America’s founding principles. Purchase of Colonial Williamsburg products and services supports the preservation, research and educational programs of the Foundation. Philanthropic support by individuals, corporations, and foundations benefits the educational mission of The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.

Williamsburg is located in Virginia’s Tidewater region, 20 minutes from Newport News, within an hour’s drive of Richmond and Norfolk, and 150 miles south of Washington, D.C., off Interstate 64. For more information about Colonial Williamsburg, call 1-800-HISTORY or visit Colonial Williamsburg’s website at

Media Contact:
Barbara Brown
(757) 220-7280