Teaching Students About the House Of Burgesses

As students learn about the early stages of American history, one important aspect to explore is the establishment of the House of Burgesses. This Virginia assembly was the first legislative body established in the colonies, and it played an essential role in shaping the newfound democracy in America.

The House of Burgesses was founded in 1619 in Jamestown, Virginia. This assembly consisted of 22 elected representatives, who were wealthy landowners and leaders in their communities. The House served as a forum to discuss and pass laws, and it was a crucial step towards a self-governing society.

Teaching students about the House of Burgesses can be done in various ways. One approach is through storytelling. Teachers can use historical narratives and primary source documents to illustrate the establishment of the House and its significance in the colony’s development. They can introduce the Virginia Company and its efforts to create a profitable settlement in Virginia. They can also mention the arrival of the first African slaves and the need to establish laws that regulated the system of slavery.

Simulations are another exciting way to introduce the significance of the House of Burgesses. Students can reenact the election of representatives, and participate in a mock assembly where they discuss and pass laws. This approach can help students understand the complicated issues that the representatives faced and how the voices of all the colonists were heard.

Lastly, field trips can be taken to historic locations, such as Williamsburg, Virginia, where the House of Burgesses met. Visiting such places can immerse students in history and give them a new appreciation for the significance of the House of Burgesses.

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