The House of Burgesses was one of the first representative self-government bodies in the early colonial United States. The London Company authorized its establishment in 1619 as a miniature parliament. Its base of operation was Jamestown, Virginia. It continued as a democratic (for white, male landowners) representative body with full governmental control until 1624, when Virgina's charter was revoked by an angry King James. He saw the feeble wilderness body as a threat to his power, a "seminary of sedition", and put the colony back under royal control with the bankruptcy of the Virgina Company.

Despite the royal hostility, the House of Burgesses continued to exist up through the Revolutionary War, and it sent delegates to the Constitutional Convention. Patrick Henry delivered his famous speech in the House of Burgesses.

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