Institution

For more than two centuries, the U.S. House of Representatives has carefully crafted rules and procedures to help it function as the legislative body that the Founders envisioned—“the People’s House.” Some practices are rooted in the U.S. Constitution; others are traditions adopted to meet the changing needs of the nation and the institution. Learn about the House’s role, powers, and development by exploring essays, Congress-by-Congress summaries, and profiles about the House’s unique culture.

<span style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 115%; font-family: Arial,sans-serif;"></span><p>Origins &amp; Development: From the Constitution to the Modern House </p>

Origins & Development: From the Constitution to the Modern House

Learn about the framers’ vision for the newly created governing body and subsequent major developments through essays exploring the institutional powers and duties of the House of Representatives.

Congressional Profiles: 1st through 111th Congresses (1789–2011)<span style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 115%; font-family: Arial,sans-serif;"></span>

Congressional Profiles: 1st through 111th Congresses (1789–2011)

Discover the unique makeup of each individual Congress through summaries and statistical information which provide the backdrop to historical events.

Historical Highlights <span style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 115%; font-family: Arial,sans-serif;"></span>

Historical Highlights

Search historic events, proceedings, and legislation on a particular date in House history. Browse the calendar or use a keyword search to find a specific topic or individual.

<span>Firsts &amp;
Milestones</span>

Firsts & Milestones

Providing a list of significant institutional and legislative milestones important to House practice and procedure, as well as U.S. history itself.

Congressional Apportionment <span style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 115%; font-family: Arial,sans-serif;"></span>

Congressional Apportionment

Article I, Section 2, of the Constitution provides each state at least one U.S. Representative, while the size of a state’s delegation to the House depends on its total population. Learn more about the apportionment of the House of Representatives.

State of the Union <span style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 115%; font-family: Arial,sans-serif;"></span>

State of the Union

The Constitution directs that the President “shall from time to time give to the Congress Information on the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient” (Article II, Section 3). Explore the history of the Annual Message.

Joint Meetings, Joint Sessions &amp; Inaugurations <span style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 115%; font-family: Arial,sans-serif;"></span>

Joint Meetings, Joint Sessions & Inaugurations

Learn about the parliamentary difference between a Joint Meeting and a Joint Session of Congress. View a comprehensive historical chart containing these formal gatherings of Congress (including Presidential Inaugurations).

Congressional Gold Medal Recipients <span style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 115%; font-family: Arial,sans-serif;"></span>

Congressional Gold Medal Recipients

Since the American Revolution, Congress has commissioned gold medals as its highest expression of national appreciation for distinguished achievements and contributions. Each medal honors a particular individual, institution, or event. View a chart of those who have received this prestigious award.

Funerals in the House Chamber<span style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 115%; font-family: Arial,sans-serif;"></span>

Funerals in the House Chamber

Under the current House Rule IV, the House Chamber may only be used for legislative functions, conference meetings, and caucus meetings unless the House agrees to take part in a ceremony. Earlier in House history, however, the chamber also served as a place to memorialize Representatives who died in office.

Individuals Who Have Lain in State or Honor

Individuals Who Have Lain in State or Honor

Since 1852, when Henry Clay became the first person to receive a funeral ceremony in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda, the space has been used to pay tribute to the nation's most distinguished citizens. View a list of the most recent tributes.

Foreign Leaders &amp; Dignitaries Who Have Addressed the U.S. Congress<span style="font-size: 11pt; line-height: 115%; font-family: Calibri,sans-serif;"></span>

Foreign Leaders & Dignitaries Who Have Addressed the U.S. Congress

The Marquis de Lafayette, the French general and Revolutionary War hero, delivered an address to the House of Representatives on December 10, 1824. Since 1824, more than 150 foreign leaders or dignitaries have addressed the House in the form of a Joint Session, Joint Meeting, or House Reception.

Election Statistics

Since 1920, the Clerk of the House has compiled and published the official vote counts for federal elections from the official sources among the various states and territories.

Total Members of the House & State Representation

View a chart providing historical totals of House Membership, including dates that territories entered the Union.

Party Divisions of the House of Representatives (1789 to Present)

View a chart of House political party divisions since 1789.

Vacancies & Successors

View a list of House vacancies and successors from the 105th through the 112th Congresses (1999–2015).

House of Representatives Session Dates

View a chart with the dates the House has been in session, from 1789 to the present.

House Saturday & Sunday Legislative Days

View a chart with the dates the House has been in session from, 1789 to the present.

Electoral College Fast Facts

Established in Article II, Section 1, of the U.S. Constitution, the Electoral College is the formal body which elects the President and Vice President of the United States. Learn about the procedure and a few historic facts about this process.

Presidents, Vice Presidents & Coinciding Sessions of Congress

View a chart of the 44 U.S. Presidents and Vice President terms with their corresponding Congresses.

Presidential Vetoes

View a chart of the Presidents of the United States and the number of veto messages each issued.