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Colonial Legislature
How can the Colonial Legislature be a path to the presidency?

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George Washington
House of Burgesses Virginia
1758-1774

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Thomas Jefferson
House of Burgesses Virginia
1769-1774

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George Washington, before he was president, was a burgess. A burgess is a British term for a member of a legislative body. Established in 1619 at Jamestown, the Virginia House of Burgesses was the first popularly elected representative legislative body in America. First elected in 1758, Washington represented Frederick County in this legislature until 1774. While Washington was elected unanimously as president, he lost his first election for a Burgess seat, in 1755. What might he have learned from this experience? Thomas Jefferson started his public service career in 1769 in the Virginia House of Burgesses, representing Albemarle County, Virginia. Jefferson served in this body alongside another future president, George Washington. In the years Jefferson served, a large faction with whom Jefferson was allied opposed British domination in the colonies. The Assembly began to act in opposition to the royally appointed governor.

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