The House of Burgesses constituted the oldest representative legislative body in North America.
The House of Burgesses had been meeting for well more than a century when the Constitutional Convention convened in the 1780s. There was a long track record of success. The House of Burgesses had demonstrated that an elected representative body could provide reasonable laws, leading to a stable and prosperous society, even under frontier conditions as had prevailed for most of Virginia Colony’s history. This helped give Convention delegates the assurance that a representative government could work “for the long haul” in the United States as a whole, as it expanded westward.