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House of Burgesses

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House of Burgesses

This was the first elected legislature established in the thirteen colonies. Its earliest session deliberated at Jamestown, Va., during 9–14 August 1619, and included two burgesses (townsmen) from any community or plantation that wished to join the governor and his council in drafting local ordinances. The burgesses did not conduct business separately from the council until the 1650s, and thereafter House of Burgesses referred only to the legislature's lower house. The 1776 Va. constitution renamed its lower chamber the House of Representatives.