Thomas Rordan


The Virginia House of Burgesses was the first legislative assembly of elected in North America and paved the to become more independent from Great Britain.


The settlers of the Jamestown colony needed to meet to discus about the current state of the colony. So the House was established by the Virginia Company, to make conditions in the colony more agreeable for its current inhabitants and promte and encourage English craftsmen to settle in North America.


The Virginia House of Burgesses’ members consisted of a governor and his council, and six representatives, which were called “Burgesses”. Members were elected by the existing Burgesses and it was voted whether or not a member got to move to a higher office. Members would meet at least once a year with their royal governor to decide local laws and determine local taxation. The House had the power to make laws but could be vetoed by the governor, council, and the directors in London while they were under the control of the Virginia Company however after the company was accused of mismanaging the government stepped in and turned Virginia into a royal colony. With the government under control of the colonies the House of Burgesses had their powers restricted.

Why it is important and Connections to the U.S. Goverment

The House of Burgesses became one of the first practices of democracy by the colonists and because of these practices the colonists had over 157 years of practice and had an understanding of what and what not to do, unlike the Russian, Chinese, and French revolutions which all either failed or morphed into autocratic government. The House morphed into the first House of Delegates in 1776 forming the lower house of the General Assembly, the legislative branch of the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Notable Members

The most notable members of the House of Burgesses were George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Patrick Henry, two of which would go on to become U.S. Presidents.


"House of Burgesses." ***. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Sept. 2015.

"House of Burgesses." House of Burgesses. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Sept. 2015.

"House of Burgesses." House of Burgesses. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Sept. 2015.

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picture citations

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