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Colonial Virginia Terms

House Of Burgesses

Established in 1619, this was the first elected assembly in America. The burgesses, or freemen, in each borough, or county, were allowed to select two representatives. The House of Burgesses had the authority to initiate and pass legislation, pending the governor's approval, and it served as the colony's highest court of appeals.

This refers to was the lower house of Virginia's legislative assembly. Established in 1619, it was initially perceived as a largely consultative body that met irregularly. But by the second half of the seventeenth century, the House had established itself as a more regular and essential part of Virginia's government. During the colonial period the members of the House of Burgesses were the only popularly elected officials in the colony.

Virginia Assembly

Virginia's colonial government after 1619 consisted of the House of Burgesses, the Governor's Council, and the Governor. Collectively they were referred to as the Assembly. Members of the House of Burgesses were popularly elected, the members of the Governor's Council, or Councillors were appointed by the Governor, the Governor was appointed by the King of England.

New Lights, New Light

This label was applied to the preachers and church members that embraced the new doctrines and styles of worship advanced by the First Great Awakening. As the revival caused a division within any denominations, the camps were identified as "New Lights" and Old Lights."

Magna Carta, Magna Charta

The Magna Carta is a medieval document generally viewed as the historical and philosophical basis of English liberty. In 1215 King John of England agreed to respect certain rights and abide by certain legal procedures itemized in a written charter. Through this act he consented to be bound by law—his power was neither absolute nor arbitrary, it was restricted by the terms of recorded document.

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