Social Studies - 2017-18

VS.3d - General Assembly

The student will demonstrate knowledge of the first permanent English settlement in America by

d)  identifying the importance of the General Assembly (1619) as the first representative legislative body in English America.

Bloom's Level: Understand

Adopted: 2008


Every group of people needs a political structure.

There are many different forms of government.

The type of government a society has influences the way its people live.


As Jamestown grew, its system of government evolved.

What was Jamestown’s system of government called?

What was the House of Burgesses, and why was it important?


Identify and interpret artifacts and primary and secondary source documents to understand events in history. (VS.1a)

Draw conclusions and make generalizations. (VS.1d)

Make connections between past and present. (VS.1e)

Sequence events in Virginia history. (VS.1f)

System of government
In 1619, the governor of Virginia called a meeting of the General Assembly. The General Assembly included two representatives, called burgesses, from each of the divisions of Virginia, along with the governor’s council and the governor. They met as one legislative body. (At that time, only certain free adult men had the right to take part.)

The current Virginia General Assembly dates back to 1619 with the establishment of the General Assembly and its burgesses in Jamestown. It was the first elected legislative body in English America giving settlers the opportunity to control their own government.

House of Burgesses
By the 1640s, the burgesses became a separate legislative body, called the House of Burgesses. They met separately from the Governor’s Council as one of the two legislative bodies of the General Assembly.


Updated: May 11, 2018