As Americans we are blessed to live in a country that is an aspirational meritocracy where every person has an equal opportunity in life. Our forefathers fought hard to establish the basis of a free and just society based on the ideal that a democratic republic would protect our rights, deriving its just powers from the consent of the people. Many Americans are unaware that American democracy was born 400 years ago in Virginia, a full year before the “pilgrims” arrived at Plymouth Rock. This year, the Commonwealth of Virginia is working to present accurate history — sharing its authentic, inclusive history.
Our complex history as Americans cannot be fully understood without examining several pivotal events in the course of human events — including the first representative assembly, the arrival of the first recorded Africans to English North America and the recruitment of English women in the new world. These events, which occurred in 1619 Virginia, have indelibly shaped and still have a profound effect on our nation today. Throughout 2019, the Commonwealth of Virginia is commemorating its long history of representative government and highlighting important events that occurred in the Virginia colony 400 years ago, which led us on a long and difficult path to become a more perfect free republic.