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Day Tour

Gov Works, a Politics Primer (3 Hours)

Context Travel

Washington, DC United States

Valid for Travel Now Through: 01 Feb 2021

Gov Works, a Politics Primer (3 Hours )

Washington, DC United States

Tour Features

Experience(s)

  • Culture, History & Arts
  • Sightseeing

Meals

None

Recommended Ages

12 and Above

Activity Level

Moderate

Description

It’s no accident that the White House and Capitol lay at opposite ends of Pennsylvania Avenue, with the Supreme Court set off to the side. The ever-symbolic urban plan of DC very carefully separates the three branches of the U.S. government. In the course of this 3-hour walk we will join either an American historian or seasoned political journalist for a stroll up Pennsylvania Avenue that uses the city itself as a mechanism for understand the U.S. federal government and the political forces that have shaped it over the last 200 years. We begin at the Willard Hotel, where tradition and political lore holds the term “lobbyist” was coined in the 19th century during the Grant administration. With this Beaux Arts structure as a backdrop and the White House just a block away, we’ll set the stage by looking at the plan of Washington and gaining an understanding of how the city was laid out according to certain political principles. Since this is about as close as one can get to the White House we’ll talk a little about that structure and the security restrictions that surround it. From here we’ll begin our walk up Pennsylvania Avenue towards the Capitol. We’ll make numerous stops along the way at places where American political history has been forged. Our exact itinerary will depend on our docent’s background and expertise, and may include: the Justice Department and FBI buildings where we can discuss the famous battles between Robert Kennedy and Teamster’s boss Jimmy Hoffa; or perhaps we’ll stop in front of the location where Jack Abramoff’s restaurant, Signatures, once stood—ground zero of the biggest lobbying scandal in recent memory; or, perhaps, the Federal Trade Commission, set up during the Progressive Era to protect consumer rights (the beginning of “big government”). We may stop at all of them. As we go along our docent will link anecdote and historical detail together into a comprehensive narrative that provides context to larger questions about the U.S. government and political power in Washington, DC. Our time together will be very interactive, with questions from the group suggesting the course of the conversation. We will detour off the Avenue once or twice. Many docents visit the National Archives, where the nation’s treasures are stored, including an original of the Constitution, which is lowered into a lead-lined vault if the country is ever under attack. Our course will circle the Capitol and nearby Senate buildings, and we’ll spend time dealing with the exterior of the building and its role in government, history, and the inaugural ceremonies of presidents. Participants wishing to take a tour of the Capitol itself can book one of the building’s tours for the conclusion of this walk. We may also stop into the Supreme Court and discuss some of the seminal cases that have been argued here, and demonstrations that have been held on its steps. Nearby we’ll find “Monica Beach,” where TV crews camped during President Clinton’s Lewinsky scandal. Finally we’ll finish at the Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress, which was founded on Thomas Jefferson’s private collection. With a glimpse of the beautiful central reading room we’ll consider the implied meaning of this library—that knowledge should underpin political decisions—in light of all we’ve learned and discussed. Participants are also able to book the official Library tour at the conclusion of our time together, should they wish to continue on.

About Us

Context Travel offers cultural and historical tours and activities led by deep subject-matter experts in over 50 cities around the world. With coverage of lesser known locales as well as main city sites, our experts take clients through in-depth, thematic topics to help them get to know a city more deeply. The tours are designed to be the ideal environment for learning – they are conversation-driven private experiences that are structured, but never scripted.

Insider Tip

Contact your Virtuoso Travel Advisor for insider knowledge to help enhance your experience.

Terms & Conditions

Context Cancellation Policy

You may cancel reservations for semi-private or private tours only up to seven (7) days in advance of the date and time of the reservation for a 50% refund; we will retain the 50% balance as a processing and handling fee. All sales are final and fully nonrefundable for private and semi-private tours within seven (7) days of the reservation date and time. If you wish to cancel a semi-private or private tour within seven (7) days of the reservation date and time without refund, you may do so via our 24 hour number +1 (646) 863-5002.

You may cancel reservations for custom tours up to fourteen (14) days in advance of the date and time of the reservation for a 50% refund; we will retain the 50% balance as a processing and handling fee. All sales are final and fully nonrefundable for custom tours within fourteen (14) days of the reservation date and time. Cancellation of a custom tour made within fourteen (14) days of the reservation date and time may be made without refund to our 24 hour number +1 (646) 863-5002. All tickets for transportation and third party venues are nonrefundable for semi-private, private and custom tours. Car services and tasting fees are subject to same terms as the tours.



The trademarks VIRTUOSO, the Globe Swirl Logo and SPECIALISTS IN THE ART OF TRAVEL are registered trademarks of Virtuoso, Ltd. Virtuoso, Ltd. has a U.S. copyright registration for the Globe Swirl Logo, ©2000. All rights reserved. Virtuoso CST#2069091-50. California CST# 2069091; TA# 808 - Registered Iowa Travel Agency; Washington UBI # 601 554 183. Registration as a seller of travel does not constitute approval by the State of California.

Reviews and Recommendations for Context Travel

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Italy trip

By: Joe C


Reviewed on: 27 Jun 2018

Without question they did a superb job.
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"The Great European Tour"

By: MJ


Reviewed on: 14 Aug 2018

The trip was our first experience with Context and it was amazing!
Travel Advisor:  Donna Peacock
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informative

By: Shari


Reviewed on: 17 Nov 2018

The 6 person maximum of Context tours really made for an intimate learning experience. The docents they get to lead the groups were top notch!
Travel Advisor:  Kelly Millington
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Context Travel: One very good tour, one medium good tour

By: Rob


Reviewed on: 27 Feb 2019

We had two tours, one entitled "Intro to HK: Colony to Financial Powerhouse" and the other "Kowloon Street Food Tour". The first had an architectural as well as historical framework, which was worthwhile, and our guide was very earnest and enthusiastic. We liked her very much. Our second tour, ostensibly a "Kowloon Street Food" got a little off track onto some political topics (reference is made in the description to discussing "local issues") but we made clear to our guide that we much preferred to spend our limited time checking out the street food and markets, and leaving politics and history aside. (Every guide prior to this had given us a similar capsule history of HK.) In fairness to our review of the guide, my wife and I were extremely tired by the time of our evening tour, and had to conclude the tour early, and we do not fault our guide in any way for our "running out of steam". Our guide was nice, though he made a couple of comments that might have been better left unsaid.
Travel Advisor:  Rachel Dicker
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Context Tours

By: DHunt


Reviewed on: 05 Mar 2019

We were highly impressed with context tours. Each guide was very knowledgeable and the private group setting allowed us to really spend time and enjoy each site without feeling like we were part of a herd. Further, the guide is interactive, not just dictating into a radio with information.
Travel Advisor:  Nathan Cripps
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Ecellent

By: Liz


Reviewed on: 22 Mar 2019

Great tours, leaders had in depth know,edge and were patient with questions. Length of tours were appropriate and breaks were schedule to accommodate our needs.
Travel Advisor:  Marion Harbison
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Tour Company - Context Travel

By: Terry


Reviewed on: 08 Apr 2019

Context Travel is an excellent resource for private tours. Each of our guides were extremely knowledgeable, easy to converse with and a pleasure to spend time with. The company itself is very user-friendly and responsive.
Travel Advisor:  Nathan Cripps
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Italian adventure

By: Happy traveler


Reviewed on: 09 Apr 2019

Our family had a terrific time.... tours were conducted by very knowledgeable staff. They paid particular attention to the young people in our group. We came home very happy with our adventures.
Travel Advisor:  Beth Bastian
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Context

By: Howard


Reviewed on: 28 Apr 2019

Tour guides were knowledge and very professional
Travel Advisor:  Jane Rosenkrantz
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Excellent family tour of Colosseum

By: PB


Reviewed on: 06 May 2019

We had an excellent tour of the Colosseum with Context Travel. Our guide (Tiziana) was very knowledgeable about history and made the tour interesting and fun for our kids (13 and 11 years old). She had wonderful stories about what life was like in Ancient Rome, about the building of the Colosseum and the different rulers. It was fascinating!
Travel Advisor:  Juan Fernandez
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Wonderful guides in Italy

By: Stacy


Reviewed on: 06 May 2019

All the guides are so professional and very delightful !
Travel Advisor:  Lauren Parry
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London Tours

By: UK


Reviewed on: 05 May 2019

We had what was supposed to be 3 group tours and 2 private tours. Two of the group tours were just us. Context tour guides were very experienced, knowledgeable, and very passionate. They went above and beyond in helping us out.
Travel Advisor:  Paula Kay Eastham
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Context guides are the best!

By: Anna Louise


Reviewed on: 14 May 2019

Both of our context guides were incredible. We used one at La Sagrada Familia (Anna) and one at the Vatican (Valeria). Both of them were charming, super educated, and enhanced our experience 100-fold. They were able to help us bypass some of the crowns and skip a few lines because of their connections. I cannot recommend this company enough. Very professional and awesome. Also, the company always sent text reminders about 2 hours before the tour, which was really nice. I will use Context again and again in the future!
Travel Advisor:  Florence (Flo) Banks
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Anna (Barcelona) Val (Rome)

By: S Madden


Reviewed on: 13 May 2019

Both Context tours were amazing! Anna and Val were knowledgeable, fun, and helpful. They got us right in to busy sights and were worth every penny. They made the city and day enjoyable. Highly recommended!!!
Travel Advisor:  Florence (Flo) Banks
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Churchill War Room Tour

By: Traveler


Reviewed on: 15 May 2019

We had a wonderful time with our tour guide, Peter, going through the Churchill War Rooms. We spent the entire three hours with Peter in the War Room. His history knowledge was incredible and fascinating! The original description of the tour stated that it included: • Churchill War Rooms Tour led by a local historian. • Sites include: the Museum of London, St Paul's Cathedral, and the Churchill War Rooms There was no way that we could have covered the Museum of London and St. Paul’s Cathedral along with the Churchill War Room. We spent the entire three hours in the War Room! Maybe the description of this tour needs to be updated to just state the Churchill War Rooms.
Travel Advisor:  John Rees
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