I have been reading John Adams by David McCullough and was stumped by the expression of "erect galleries" as in the following excerpt.

In Massachusetts the idea of galleries for the public to watch the legislature was the custom. When Wilson of Pennsylvania, who agreed with him, moved that the doors be opened, galleries erected, or that Congress adjourn to some public building where the people might be accommodated, Adams enthusiastically seconded the motion, but to no avail.

What does 'erect galleries' mean here? I was guessing 'holding a constitutional session', but I am not 100% sure.

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    A public gallery (from which members of the public can observe the legislature in action, debating and passing bills, etc.) is normally higher than the debating chamber itself (think floor of the House in the UK Parliament context). So just as construction companies are in the business of erecting buildings, they may also erect/build galleries. That's to say, your cite is effectively a "literal" usage, not the same as metaphorically erecting barriers. – FumbleFingers Jun 7 '17 at 14:12
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    "erect" = "build"; "gallery" = "public seating". – Hellion Jun 7 '17 at 14:12

A gallery is similar to a big balcony with seats inside a big room such as a theater or a parliament room (for journalists and spectators), erecting them in this context means building them. The political context is irrelevant. This is a literal meaning.

  • Please don't answer questions that are clearly offtopic. – green_ideas Jun 12 '17 at 10:36

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