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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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Displaying 85–96 of 195 results

Wash, Rinse, and Equal Treatment

In December 1967 Representative Martha Griffiths stepped in to save a teetering but beloved decades-old institution known as the House Beauty Shop. What began as a makeover became a movement for equality on Capitol Hill.
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And the Perfect Attendance Award Goes to…

Rep. William Natcher
In elementary school, perfect attendance means being at school every day. Once in a while a super kid sails through high school without missing a day. Such monumental feats are usually celebrated with a certificate from the principal, or perhaps a newspaper story. In the U.S. House, perfect attendance means never missing a vote during one’s House service and, in some rare cases, making every committee meeting. Several instances of these super Members stand out in House history.
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Edition for Educators—Hispanic Americans in Congress in their Own Words

The history of Hispanic Members who served in Congress is one shaped by changes in American society and in the House. In celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, we invite you to learn more about these Members in their own words.
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Celebrating 100 Years of Women in Congress

Jeannette Rankin
One hundred years ago, Jeannette Rankin of Montana made history as the first woman elected to the U.S. Congress. This year, we celebrate 100 years of Women in Congress.
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Edition for Educators—Chamber Music

Whether singing the national anthem or humming along during the latest concert on the Capitol lawn, a stirring refrain is never far from the House Chamber. This month’s Edition for Educators focuses on the long musical history of the House and its Members.
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Categories: Edition for Educators

We Can’t Make This Stuff Up Either

A pianist, a professor, and an anthropologist walk into the Capitol. It sounds like the set up for a bit joke. However, in researching the institution, we occasionally stumble upon a few stories that prove once again that sometimes truth is stranger than fiction. This edition features a well-known Member and his lesser known musical career; a tenthidean cephalopod on the House Floor; and the weight of a Members’ brain.
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Categories: Members of Congress

Father Knows Best

Shortly after noon on an unseasonably mild Thursday in late February 1842, a hush fell over the House as the venerable John Quincy Adams creakily arose from his chair. Just weeks earlier, the House had considered censuring the gray-haired Massachusetts Congressman whom many knew as Old Man Eloquent to punish him for manufacturing a crippling debate about the evils of slavery. But on this day Adams eulogized North Carolina’s Lewis Williams, whom colleagues revered as the “Father of the House”—the Member with the longest continuous service.
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Edition for Educators—The Olympics

From track and field to judo to basketball, the Summer Olympics is a quadrennial event that captures the attention of imagination of people worldwide. This month’s Edition for Educators features the stories of the many Olympians who have served in the House of Representatives.
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Categories: Edition for Educators

Rising up in the House—Part II:
The House Debates the “Irish Question”

On April 2, 1917, President Woodrow Wilson addressed a joint session of Congress to denounce German aggression. Dramatically abandoning his commitment to neutrality, he urged Congress to declare war on Imperial Germany to “make the world safe for democracy.” Wilson emphasized that the United States must undertake a principled intervention in the war in order to protect the right of self-determination for small nations. When Congress passed a war declaration on April 6, Members seized the moment to revive the issue of Irish independence, which had failed to gain traction in the House a year earlier when Missouri Representative Leonidas C. Dyer insisted that Congress support the Easter Rising.
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Categories: Legislation, War

Rising up in the House—Part I:
Rep. Dyer and the Irish Rebellion of 1916

On April 24, 1916, Irish republicans took up arms against the British government in what became known as the Easter Rising. They seized the General Post Office in Dublin and distributed the Proclamation of the Irish Republic, which affirmed the right of the Irish people to form an independent government and claimed the support of Ireland’s “exiled children in America.” The Irish insurgency, and the British response to it, both captivated and appalled the U.S. public—including Congress.
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Categories: Legislation, War

Edition for Educators—The Grand Old Flag

A 1916 presidential proclamation first designated national Flag Day on June 14—the date the Continental Congress approved the design of the national flag in 1777. In 1949, the House and Senate passed a joint resolution declaring June 14 as Flag Day and authorizing the President to issue a proclamation that flags be displayed at government buildings and, further, that the President urge all citizens to observe the anniversary. This edition for educators is devoted to the American flag.
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Edition for Educators—Asian Pacific Heritage Month

Norman Mineta spent nearly four years of his childhood in internment camps for Japanese Americans during World War II. First elected in 1974, Mineta served 11 terms in the House of Representatives and worked to hold the legislative process accountable and address the mistakes of the past. Learn more about the efforts and accomplishments of Mineta and other Asian and Pacific Islander Americans in Congress for Asian Pacific Heritage Month.
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