Dr. Jon Kukla Interview – Political and Social Stability: Order or Chaos in 17th Century Virginia. (Pillars of 17th Century Virginia Society, Part 1)

For decades prevailing thought said that 17th Century Virginia was chaotic, had little to build upon, and therefore left a scanty legacy. Historians such as Bernard Bailyn prominently argued that 17th Century Virginia was untamed and chaotic, but in 1985 Jon Kukla challenged that opinion.

While working at what is today the Library of Virginia, Dr. Kukla was asked to undertake a project concerning the General Assembly which led to his thesis challenging research. His work was packaged in the brilliant “Order and Chaos in Early America: Political and Social Stability in Pre-Restoration Virginia” which was featured as the lead article in the April 1985 American Historical Review.

Dr. Kukla argued that Pre-Restoration 17th Century Virginia was anything but chaotic and did indeed have order. That order may not be what we think of today, yet the foundations that Virginia settlers laid down in the 17th Century allowed for subsequent generations to build a strong colony. That colony would then go on to profoundly influence America’s founding generation, which in turn built what was then a radically different governmental/political entity that the world had never seen.



  1. Kukla, Jon. Speakers and Clerks of the Virginia House of Burgesses, 1643-1776. Richmond, VA: Virginia State Library, 1981.
  2. Kukla, Jon. Bill of Rights: A Lively Heritage. Richmond, VA: Library of Virginia, 1987.
  3. Kukla, Jon. Political Institutions in Virginia: 1619-1660. Taylor and Francis, 1989. (Dr. Kukla’s Ph.D. Dissertation)
  4. Kukla, Jon; Rosal, Angelita; and Lemmon, Alfred, E . A Guide to the Papers of Pierre Clement Laussat. New Orleans, LA: Historic New Orleans Collection, 1993.
  5. Kukla, Jon and Kukla, Amy. Patrick Henry: Voice of the Revolution. Powerplus, 2002. (Great Children’s book!)
  6. Kukla, Jon. A Wilderness So Immense: The Louisiana Purchase and the Destiny of America. New York: Anchor, 2004.
  7. Kukla, Jon and Kukla, Amy. Thomas Jefferson: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. Powerplus, 2005. (Great Children’s Book!)
  8. Kukla, Jon. Mr. Jefferson’s Women. New York: Vintage, 2008.
  9. Kukla, Jon. Patrick Henry: Champion of Liberty. New York: Simon and Schuster, 2017.



All photography used on this site is owned and copyrighted by the author. The Featured Image is of Dr. Jon Kukla from our interview at the Library of Virginia.

Music used for this episode – Louis Armstrong and the Mills Brothers,”Carry Me Back to Old Virginia” available on iTunes, and Fantasia on a Theme of Thomas Tallis by Ralph Vaughan-Williams performed by the Sir Andrew Davis and the BBC Symphony Orchestra also available on iTunes.

The House of Burgesses – Interview with Nancy Egloff

Virginia’s history boasts many firsts. One of those firsts was the 1619 meeting of the House of Burgesses. It was a major event in that it was the first time a representative governmental body had met in the New World.

The meeting would set the example  for future generations as Virginia and her sister colonies developed a tradition that would over time bring freedom not only to themselves, as at first, but to all, including those who were not represented in that first meeting.

It was my distinct pleasure to interview the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation’s Nancy Egloff. We discuss how the House of Burgesses formed and evolved in the 17th Century, as well as how the body evolved and influenced later generations. I trust you will find this episode informative and enjoyable.

Jamestown Settlement’s Famous Replica 1607 Fleet


Ms. Nancy Egloff


  1. Billings, Warren. A Little Parliament: The Virginia General Assembly in the Seventeenth Century. Richmond, VA: Library of Virginia, 2004.
  2. Billings, Warren. “The General Assembly of 1619: Myths and Realities” in UNBOUND: An Annual Review of Legal History and Rare Books. Journal of the Legal History and Rare Books Special Interest Section of the American Association of Law Libraries, Volume 3, 2010. pp. 39-50.
  3. Craven, Wesley Frank. Dissolution of the Virginia Company: Failure of a Colonial Experiment. Gloucester, MA: Peter Smith, 1964.
  4. Davidson, Thomas E. “The First General Assembly, 1619.” Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation Dispatch, 1994. Unpublished manuscript.
  5. Kukla, Jon. Political Institutions in Virginia, 1619-1660. New York: Garland Publishing, Inc., 1989.
  6. Pory, John. Proceedings of the General Assembly of Virginia, July 30-August4, 1619. ed. William Van Schreeven and George Reese. Jamestown, VA: Jamestown Foundation, 1969.
  7. Virginia Company. “Instructions to George Yeardley,” in The Three Charters of the Virginia Company of London With Seven Related Documents, 1606-1621, ed. Samuel Bemiss. Williamsburg, VA: Virginia 350th Anniversary Celebration Corporation, 1957.


  1. Jamestown Settlement
  2. Historic Jamestowne
  3. American Evolution 2019
  4. Virginia History Podcast: 1619 – Representative Government Is Formed
The Indian Village at Jamestown Settlement




All photography used on this site is owned and copyrighted by the author. The Featured Image is just inside the entrance to Jamestown Settlement’s James Fort.

Music used for this episode – Louis Armstrong and the Mills Brothers,”Carry Me Back to Old Virginia” available on iTunes, and Piano Concerto #3 by Sergei Rachmaninov also available on iTunes.

1619 – Representative Government Is Formed

The Virginia Colony made great strides throughout 1619, and arguably the greatest was the formation of representative government, the first such government formed in the New World.

The Company didn’t want to loosen the reigns as freely as they did, but once the steps were taken, the representatives didn’t look back. John Pory guided the proceedings, which lasted 5 days from July 30 to August 4, and set the tone for future Virginian as well as American government into motion.

Because of this precedent, the House of Burgesses is a more than worthy topic of study, especially in that the original House is still with us today as the House of Delegates, the lower body of the Virginia General Assembly, and many great men sharpened their political acumen therein.


The Virginia Capitol at Richmond is the heir of the 1619 Assembly


  1. Berhnard, Virginia. A Tale of Two Colonies: What Really Happened in Virginia and Bermuda? Columbia, MO: University of Missouri, 2011.
  2. Billings, Warren M.; Selby, John E.; and Tate, Thad W. Colonial Virginia: A History. White Plains, NY: KTO Press. 1986.
  3. Brown, Kathleen. Good Wives, Nasty Wenches, and Angry Patriarchs: Gender, Race, and Power in Colonial Virginia. Chapel Hill: UNC Press. 1996.
  4. Craven, Wesley Frank. White, Red, and Black: The Seventeenth Century Virginian. Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Press, 1977.
  5. Craven, Wesley Frank. The Southern Colonies in the Seventeenth Century: 1607-1689. LSU Press, 1949
  6. Dabney, Virginius. Virginia: The New Dominion, A History from 1607 to the Present. Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Press, 1971.
  7. Deans, Bob. The River Where America Began: A Journey Along the James. Plymouth, UK: Rowan and Littlefield, 2009.
  8. Doherty, Kieran. Sea Venture: Shipwreck, Survival, and the Salvation of Jamestown. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2008.
  9. Glover, Lorri and Smith, Daniel Blake. The Shipwreck that Saved Jamestown: The Sea Venture Castaways and the Fate of America.
  10. Hatch, Charles. The First Seventeen Years: Virginia 1607-1624. Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Press, 1991.
  11. Horn, James. A Land as God Made It: Jamestown and the Birth of America. New York: Basic Books, 2005.
  12. Hume, Ivor Noel. Here Lies Virginia. New York: Alfred Knopf, 1963.
  13. Hume, Ivor Noel. The Virginia Adventure: Roanoke to James Towne – An Archaeological and Historical OdysseyNew York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1994.
  14. Kelso, William M. Jamestown: The Buried Truth. Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Press, 2006.
  15. Kupperman, Karen Ordhal. The Jamestown Project. Cambridge, MA: The Belknapp Press of Harvard University Press, 2007.
  16. Mapp, Alfred J. Virginia Experiment: The Old Dominion’s Role in the Making of America, 1607-1781Lincoln, NE: iUniverse, Inc., 2006.
  17. Pory, John. Proceedings of the General Assembly of Virginia, July 30-August 4, 1619. Jamestown, VA: Jamestown Foundation of the Commonwealth of Virginia, 1969.
  18. Price, David A. Love and Hate in Jamestown: John Smith, Pocahontas, and the Start of a New NationNew York: Vintage, 2003.
  19. Rothbard, Murray N. Conceived in Liberty. Auburn, AL: Ludwig Von Mises Institute, 1999.
  20. Rountree, Helen C. Powhatan Foreign Relations: 1500-1722.Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 1993.
  21. Rountree, Helen C. Pocahontas, Powhatan, Opechancanough: Three Indian Lives Changed by Jamestown. Charlottesville, VA: UVA Press, 2005.
  22. Smith, John. The Generall History of Virginia. 1624.
  23. Strachey, William. Collected Works on the Internet Archive.
  24. Tyler, Lyon Gardiner. The Cradle of the Republic: Jamestown and the James River. Richmond, VA: The Hermitage Press, 1906.
  25. Wallenstein, Peter. Cradle of America: Four Centuries of Virginia History. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas, 2007.
  26. Williams, Tony. The Jamestown Experiment: The Remarkable Story of The Enterprising Colony and the Unexpected Results that Shaped America. Naperville, IL: Sourcebooks, 2011.
  27. Wooley, Benjamin. Savage Kingdom: The True Story of Jamestown, 1607, and the Settlement of America. New York: Harper and Collins, 2007.


  1. American Evolution
  2. Virginia General Assembly




All photography used on this site is owned and copyrighted by the author. The Featured Image is of the current Jamestown Church’s Choir, where the first Assembly would have met.

Music used for this episode – Louis Armstrong and the Mills Brothers,”Carry Me Back to Old Virginia” available on iTunes, and “Below My Feet” by Mumford and Sons also available on iTunes.