Friday, September 05, 2008

The Parliamentary Chamber

The constitutional monarchy as it has grown for seven hundred years in Great Britain has given us one of the greatest achievements of simple design, the parliamentary chamber. It is simple: 180º of a circle set against the width of a rectangle. An early, and for America politically important realization of this is the House of Burgesses in Virginia (above), first convened in 1619. It is functional simplicity combined with an above all dutiful reverence for the job to be carried out; despite a penchant for such idiotic pastimes as the fox hunt or finding blue blood in their families, Virginia's gentry have traditionally done a more honorable job in governing than their counterparts in the House of Lords.

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