The road to American independence was a long one, built on determination and sacrifice. The ideals of the American Revolution — embodied in the Declaration of Independence — continued to evolve even after the nation's birth.
The foundations of religious liberty were laid early, beginning with the First Great Awakening in the 1720s and stretching to the passage of the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom in 1786, followed by adoption of the First Amendment five years later. Personal liberties and political equality, both cornerstones of the Revolution, did not spread to all citizens for years. Women and individuals of African descent, for example, did not begin fully benefiting from the promise of the Declaration of Independence until as late as the 20th century. The fight to uphold these ideals resurfaces still today.
The path to political independence — the struggle to separate the colonies from the British Empire — began long before the first shots were fired at Lexington and Concord on April 19, 1775. As John Adams later wrote: "The revolution was effected before the War for Independence commenced. The revolution was in the minds and hearts of the people." Adams believed the seeds of revolution were planted at least a decade before, as issues of security, taxation, representation, and political authority stirred American opposition. Independence — proclaimed on July 4, 1776, and completed in 1783 — came only after significant sacrifice in blood and suffering.
Thus, the road to the American Revolution — and the accompanying revolution inside the people — was protracted and arduous, extending into the modern era. This website will guide you as you walk this road, and encounter its many signs and footmarks, around Virginia.
Richmond, VA 23219
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An Act to amend and reenact § 1 of Chapter 852 of the Acts of Assembly of 2007, relating to The Road to Revolution.
Approved March 7, 2012
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of Virginia:
1. That § 1 of Chapter 852 of the Acts of Assembly of 2007 is amended and reenacted as follows
§ 1. There is hereby established The Road to Revolution, a state heritage trail that honors men and women of the founding generation who played a leading role in liberating Virginia from Colonial rule and establishing a constitutional republic. The Trail shall consist of the following sites: Henry's birthplace at Studley, Virginia; Rural Plains at Mechanicsville, Virginia; Pine Slash at Studley, Virginia; Hampden-Sydney College at Hampden-Sydney, Virginia; St. John's Church at Richmond, Virginia; Scotchtown at Beaverdam, Virginia; Hanover Tavern at Hanover, Virginia; the Hanover County Courthouse at Hanover, Virginia; Historic Polegreen Church at Mechanicsville, Virginia; Leatherwood Plantation at Henry County, Virginia; Red Hill Plantation and the Patrick Henry National Memorial, at Brookneal, Virginia; and all additional sites determined to meet the criteria established by The Road to Revolution Heritage Trail Consortium in sole partnership with the Richmond Metropolitan Convention and Visitors Bureau. Criteria for sites shall include places and related events of significance to the lives of those who contributed to the establishment of these United States. The Virginia Department of Transportation shall erect one identifying sign in the Department's right-of-way at each site only by request of a local government, historical organization, or foundation with custodial responsibilities for that site. Directional signs for travelers to these sites may be erected and maintained by similar request. Directional signage shall be placed at the nearest intersection to each site in the Department's right-of-way if there is no conflict with other Department signage. All signs shall consist of a common sign design developed by a committee consisting of one representative of each historical organization, foundation, or local governing body and the Director of the Department of Historic Resources. Sign panels and posts shall meet Department of Transportation specifications. All costs associated with manufacturing, erection, and maintenance of signs under this section shall be borne by the requesting party. Signs erected by the Virginia Department of Transportation under this section shall be developed in accordance with applicable provisions of § 10.1-2209 and placed in accordance with all applicable Virginia Department of Transportation regulations.