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Democracy Representative Government

1619 meeting of the First Representative Assembly

AE Curator May 09
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America’s experiment in self-government began at Jamestown. In 1618, the Virginia Company of London, looking to improve the colony’s financial situation and shake off economic stagnation, granted a series of reforms later called the Great Charter. The innovations included replacing a series of strict laws with a self-governing General Assembly. On July 30, 1619, the governor, appointed officials, the governor’s Council, and two Burgesses elected from 10 major settlements convened, establishing English-speaking North America’s oldest elected governing body.

Location: Jamestown
Image: Library of Virginia

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