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Colonial Williamsburg

The Capitol

Picture 14 of 26

Front of the Capitol, looking north. The west wing housed the General Courtroom on the first floor and the Council Chamber on the second. The Council, made up of twelve leading colonists appointed for life by the king, constituted the upper house of the legislature. They also assisted the governor by acting as a council of state.

The east wing contained the Hall of the House of Burgesses on the first floor and committee rooms on the second. The House of Burgesses, the lower house of the legislature, consisted of two members elected by the landowners of each county, and one member each from Jamestown, Williamsburg, Norfolk, and the College of William and Mary.

If the two houses deadlocked in trying to pass a bill, representatives from the Council and the burgesses met jointly in the second floor chamber located over the entrance portico. The architecture of the Capitol aided the process of mediation between the two houses.

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