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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 13–24 of 66 results

Edition for Educators—Celebrating Women’s History Month 2019

To celebrate Women’s History Month, this Edition for Educators blog focuses on content we’ve added to the History, Art & Archives website within the last year alongside new images the office has acquired. This year, we’ve compiled a few of the new oral histories, blogs, digitized images, and updated statistics for the 116th Congress (2019–2021) to feature below. In preparation for next year’s anniversary, the office has also added a new House Record to commemorate the 19th Amendment granting women’s suffrage.
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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

Edition for Educators—Civil Rights Legislation

This edition for educators focuses on important legislation featured in the minorities in Congress series (Women in Congress, Black Americans in Congress, and Hispanic Americans in Congress).
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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 – Congress in Wartime

The Constitution grants Congress the power to declare war and maintain and fund the armed forces. From the harrowing night in 1814 when war arrived on the Capitol’s doorstep to the war on terror, the House and its Members have been key players in wartime decisions.
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Categories: Edition for Educators, War

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—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—Continental and Confederation Congresses

Fifteen years before the First Federal Congress met, Great Britain’s American colonies convened a Continental Congress in response to the Intolerable Acts, a series of taxes imposed in the wake of the Boston Tea Party incident of December 1773. The Confederation Congress was dissolved after ratification of the Constitution, and prior to the convening of the First Federal Congress in the spring of 1789.
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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—Elections

Nathaniel Banks
Constitutionally mandated to be the “People’s House,” the House of Representatives has always been elected directly by the voters bienially.
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Edition for Educators—Firsts for Women in Congress

Patsy Mink
In 1965, Patsy Mink became the first woman of color elected to Congress. An advocate for equal rights as well as many other women’s issues, one of her greatest accomplishments was the passage of the Women’s Education Equality Act, as part of a comprehensive education bill, in 1974. Learn more about Mink and other firsts for women in Congress.
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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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