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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 1–12 of 55 results

Edition for Educators—Following the Rules

The U.S. House of Representatives is governed by an ever-expanding matrix of rules and precedents, procedural compass points that have been accumulating every year since the very first Congress in 1789. The Constitution says little about the internal governing structure of the House other than that it “may determine the Rules of its Proceedings.” That vague allowance enables the House to create and maintain both its legislative processes and rules guiding the personal behavior of its Members.
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Edition for Educators—Presidency and the House

This Edition for Educators highlights the Presidency and its complicated relationship with the House of Representatives.
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Edition for Educators—Congressional Zoo

The House of Representatives is no stranger to mankind’s four-legged friends in the animal kingdom. Whether considering legislation that affects the wildlife of the nation or simply posing alongside a beloved pet, there is often a zoological presence on the Hill. This Edition for Educators focuses on all things animal in Congress.
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Categories: Edition for Educators

Edition for Educators—Districts

Massachusetts Speaker Tip O’Neill once said, “All politics is local.” With elections held every two years, the House of Representatives is designed to be immediately answerable to its constituents. Members typically seek to gain committee assignments that align with their districts’ interests and frequently return home to connect with voters. This Edition for Educators focuses on congressional districts and how their unique needs influence the Members who represent them.
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Edition for Educators—Committees

Since the 1st Congress (1789–1791) the House has organized into committees in order to more thoroughly consider pending legislation and to allow Members to specialize in certain legislative areas.
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Edition for Educators—Trivia

This month’s edition for educators focuses on finding factoids about the history of the U.S. House of Representatives, using the History, Art & Archives website. The most basic information can sometimes be the hardest to find. Two hundred twenty-eight years of history and precedent produces plenty of unique and obscure trivia, and this blog presents a search for some of that trivia across our online resources.
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Edition for Educators—House Leadership

This Edition for Educators highlights House Leadership. The U.S. Constitution offers spare guidance as to how House leadership should be organized, noting only that the Membership “shall chuse their Speaker and other Officers.” By the early 20th century, each of the major parties gradually created entire organizations to advance their legislative agendas in the House.
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Edition for Educators—Congressional Staff

This month’s Edition for Educators features the staffs who work for the Members of Congress. Since the late 19th century, Congressional staffs help the House conduct the nation’s business in Members’ offices, on committees, or through House Officers such as the Clerk of the House or Sergeant-at-Arms. Learn more about some of the individuals that one scholar called the House’s “unelected representatives.”
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Edition for Educators—Thomas Brackett Reed

This Edition for Educators highlights the always quotable Thomas Brackett Reed of Maine.
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Edition for Educators—House History Through Official House Records

One document can trace the will of the people, the history of the country, and the work of the House of Representatives. House Records—defined as the official, permanent records of the House Committees and Officers—reflect how citizens and their government address and advocate for issues. Recently we launched a way to explore a selection of these records in the Record Search database.
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Edition for Educators—Summer Reading 2017

It’s officially summertime and class is out! With summer comes vacation time and beach reading, and we have a few suggestions for where to get started. Learn more about some House History “summer reading” options.
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Categories: Edition for Educators

Edition for Educators—Picnic Edition

In the great tradition of summer picnics and cookouts, this edition for educators provides inspiration for your next al fresco outing complete with a touch of the House for your celebration.
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Categories: Edition for Educators