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July 17, 2012

Booklet Introduces New Way to Look at American History

For those who cringe at memorizing dates, battles and names, Colonial Williamsburg introduces a new way to look at American history – through the value tensions which Americans have debated since the country’s founding. “America: the Pocket Guide” is a little booklet with a big idea – the idea that the tensions between our shared democratic values including law and ethics; freedom and equality; diversity and unity; and common wealth and private wealth shaped America and continue to do so.

The values Americans hold dear are not always compatible. Sometimes they conflict in a big way. Laws are not always ethical; freedom can impinge on equality; diversity can prevent unity; and common wealth can cross the boundaries into private wealth. Colonial Williamsburg’s “The Idea of America” program, available in a student edition for high schools, and a citizens edition ( for anyone else who wants to look at history in a different way, expands on these value tensions by examining 65 case studies from before the colonies were founded to the current day. The new booklet introduces the value tensions and provides a new perspective on history.

The book is available for $1.95 at WILLIAMSBURG Booksellers in Colonial Williamsburg’s Visitor Center, 101 Visitor Center Drive, or Everything Williamsburg in Merchants Square.

Established in 1926, 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