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“The House of Representatives, in some respects, I think, is the most peculiar assemblage in the world,” Speaker Joe Cannon of Illinois once observed. Behind the legislation and procedure, House Members and staff have produced their own institutional history and heritage. Our blog, Whereas: Stories from the People’s House, tells their stories.

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Edition for Educators—Speakers of the House

This Edition for Educators highlights the Speaker of the House. Article I, Section 2 of the Constitution states: “The House of Representatives shall chuse their Speaker and other Officers.” The Speaker acts as leader of the House and combines several roles, including the institutional role of the presiding officer of the House, the partisan leader of the majority party, and the representative role of an elected Member of Congress.
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The Speaker Inquisition of 1856

Shortly before seven o’clock in the evening, on Saturday, February 2, 1856, Nathaniel P. Banks of Massachusetts, strode to the well of the House, climbed the rostrum’s few steps to the Speaker’s chair, and sat down. He paused for a moment. With his thick dark hair swept to one side and a prominent mustache obscuring his upper lip, Banks then stood to address his colleagues.
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Photography’s Ghosts

1913 electoral vote count
What’s that in the back of the House Chamber? Is the camera out of focus, or could there be a ghost in the Capitol?
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Categories: House Chamber, Photographs

Tabbing through Congress

If your signature look is a black bow tie, and if you are a candidate for Congress, do you want your campaign buttons to look like bow ties? Of course!
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Edition for Educators—Statutory Representatives

This month’s Edition for Educators highlights statutory representatives in the House. Since its inception, Congress has contended with the Constitution’s silence on the issue of representation for U.S. territories. Over decades of improvisation, a system of “statutory representation” emerged that consisting of laws crafted by Congress and evolving procedural rules in the House to give territories a limited voice in the national legislature through the offices of the Territorial Delegate and the Resident Commissioner.
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