In later years, they separated into two chambers, the lower of them being the House of Burgesses
. Their world was very different from ours, of course, but the issues they discussed in that brief first session are still debated today: taxes, race relations, what qualifications a burgess must have.
The oldest legislative body in the new world, the Virginia House of Delegates (then called the Virginia House of Burgesses
), voted to oppose the English King, as did countless other colony governments.
His first act in political office, as a young member of the Virginia House of Burgesses
in 1769, was to introduce a bill allowing slave owners to free their slaves; however, the bill did not pass.
In 1765, Patrick Henry denounced the Stamp Act before Virginia's House of Burgesses
Lawrence's marriage into the family quickly elevated him into the higher social class, and he soon won election to the Virginia House of Burgesses
. Lawrence regularly invited George to visit him at Belvoir, the Fairfax estate not far from Mount Vernon, and soon George won the approval of the Colonel himself, who took him on fox hunts (George was, even at a young age, already noted for his riding ability) and taught him to navigate the world of the upper gentry.
He managed the family plantation, Mount Vernon, and served in the Virginia House of Burgesses
. As a planter, Washington did business with British merchants, who for several years had sent inferior merchandise in exchange for crops.
Seeing all of this, Thomas Jefferson, while serving in the Virginia House of Burgesses
, called for separation between church and state and wrote the Virginia Bill for Religious Freedom, which became law principally through the efforts of his close friend and colleague, James Madison, and which paved the way for the adoption of the Religion Clauses in the First Amendment.
In 1758, young George Washington decided to seek a seat in the Virginia House of Burgesses
. He had been stymied in an earlier bid, he believed, by one crucial error: he had not "treated" the voters properly--which is to say, he had not provided them with sufficient alcoholic refreshment.
He also takes up the seat he has won in the House of Burgesses
, the colonial Virginia legislature that will one day serve as a model for the United States Congress.
* Parliament overrode the protests, even dissolving the Virginia House of Burgesses
, making the colonists feel like second-class citizens.
True, by 1699 the House of Burgesses
reduced church attendance requirements to once every two months (283).