Speakers of the House (1789 to present)
“. . . I venture to say that, taken as a whole, the House is sound at heart; nowhere else will you find such a ready appreciation of merit and character, in few gatherings of equal size is there so little jealousy and envy. . . The men who have led the House, whose names have become a splendid tradition to their successors, have gained prominence not through luck or by mere accident. They had ability, at least in some degree; but more than that they have had character.”
—Speaker Joseph G. Cannon of Illinois, (1903–1911)
Article I, Section 2 of the Constitution states: “The House of Representatives shall chuse their Speaker and other Officers.” And when Congress first convened in 1789, the House chose Frederick A.C. Muhlenberg as its Speaker. The Speaker acts as leader of the House and combines several roles: the institutional role of presiding officer and administrative head of the House, the partisan role of leader of the majority party in the House, and the representative role of an elected Member of the House. The Speaker of the House is second in line to succeed the President, after the Vice President. Information on the current Speaker, the Honorable Paul D. Ryan, is available at the web site of the Speaker of the House. Speaker Ryan is the 54th individual to serve as Speaker of the House.