Around and About New Jersey:The Statehouse Founding of New Jersey 2 months ago   15:51

David Cohen
Standing in front of a voting machine, Midge Guerrera, the series host, explains that there are three levels of government: a national government in Washington, a state government in Trenton, and local governments in our counties and towns. All begin with voting. She says that this program is about a visit to the State House in Trenton, which is the home of state government.

In the rotunda of the State House, Midge explains that the word democracy comes from the Greek word demos, meaning "people." Democracy means government by the people. But that doesn't mean all the people. At one time in New Jersey history if you didn't own property, or if you were a woman, or if you were an African American, or if you weren't twenty-one years of age, you couldn't vote. Furthermore, not everyone votes on every issue. We elect people to vote for us in Trenton, which is what we mean by representative government.

Karen Polling, our guide, takes the students into the General Assembly gallery, and explains that the state is divided into legislative districts, in which the voters elect one state senator and two members of the General Assembly from each district. Together these representatives constitute the two houses of the legislature.

She takes the students to the Senate floor, where she explains that to become a law a bill must pass both houses of the legislature. The students debate and vote on a bill to ban homework. After a bill passes both houses of the legislature, it must be either signed or vetoed by the governor. In the governor's outer office, Midge Guerrara explains that today the governor is elected directly by the voters, but the first governors of the state of New Jersey were elected by the legislature. A student, acting as governor, signs the "Homework Bill" into law.

Comments 2 Comments

this is stupid
Brian Smith
FYI: Trenton is the ONLY city in the US that has served as the capital for every level of government - Trenton Township (beginning 1719, incidentally the same year that the first municipal building was built in Trenton - the Hunterdon County Court House, which was used until 1780), Mercer County (from 1838), State of New Jersey (1790, though Trenton wasn't issued a charter until 1792) and twice served as the national capital: first in Nov and Dec 1784 during the Confederacy of the United States, 1783-1789; and again during the summer of 1793 under our Constitution when Congress fled the Yellow Fever epidemic in Philadelphia.
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Founding of New Jersey Around and About New Jersey:The Statehouse 2 months ago   01:31

New Jersey began as a royal gift from James, Duke of York, to Sir George Carteret and Lord Berkeley. It was named after a battle fought to defend the Isle of Jersey in the English Channel. New Jersey marks its 350th anniversary on June 24, 2014 with a look back at the colonial roots of New Jersey, originally divided into territories known as East Jersey and West Jersey.

"It Happened Here: New Jersey" is a production of Kean University, in partnership with the New Jersey Historical Commission. The series is narrated by Willie Geist. PCK Media is serving as producer of the series. For more information about this and other activities planned for New Jersey's 350th Anniversary, visit