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 115th Congresses (1789–2019)<span style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 115%; font-family: Arial, sans-serif;"></span>

Congressional Profiles: 1st through 115th Congresses (1789–2019)

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.

Elections &amp; Vacancies

Elections & Vacancies

The U.S. House of Representatives has been a popularly-elected body with its membership reconstituted every two years throughout its history. Mid-Congress vacancies in the House are filled by special elections. This section provides data on historical election outcomes and vacancies.

House Service &amp; Seniority

House Service & Seniority

The House of Representatives is the only body directly elected by the American people since its inception in 1789. Constitutionally, Members of the House stand for re-election every two years. This section provides data about a Member's service in the House.

<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.

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.

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.

Electoral College Fast Facts

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.

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.

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.

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

View a chart of House political party divisions since 1789.

House of Representatives Session Dates

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

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).

House Saturday & Sunday Legislative Days

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

Presidential Vetoes

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

Presidents, Vice Presidents & Coinciding Sessions of Congress

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

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.

Desk Assignments

For more than a century, seat assignment in the U.S. House of Representatives was an important element in congressional life.

Total Members of the House & State Representation

This section includes the total number of Members who have served in Congress, as well as the numbers who have served each state.

Terms of Service for Members of the House of Representatives

These PDFs include Members of the House of Representatives in Congresses since the 114th (2015–2017).

Members With 40 Years or More House Service

Since Congress convened in 1789, 29 Members have served 40 years or longer in the House of Representatives.

Fathers/Deans of the House

In the modern U.S. House of Representatives the Member with the longest continuous service is known as the “Dean of the House.” The practice of recognizing this individual—initially, and for many years, called the “Father of the House”—dates to the early nineteenth century and has changed over time.

First-Term Members of the House of Representatives

The roles and expectations for first-term Members of the House of Representatives have changed over time. This table documents the number of Representatives serving their first term for each Congress, both pre-convening and post-convening “freshmen.”

Election Statistics, 1920 to Present

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

Vacancies & Successors, 1997 to Present

View a list of House vacancies and successors from the 105th through the 115th Congresses (1999–2019).

Majority Changes in the House of Representatives, 1856 to Present

Since the start of the modern party system in 1856, the House of Representatives has changed majority 18 times.

List of Individuals Impeached by the House of Representatives

The Constitution gives the House of Representatives “the sole Power of Impeachment” (Article I, Section 2) of federal officers and gives the Senate “the sole Power to try all Impeachments” (Article I, Section 3). This is a list of individuals impeached by the House.

List of Individuals Expelled, Censured, or Reprimanded in the U.S. House of Representatives

The Constitution grants the House broad power to discipline its Members for acts that range from criminal misconduct to violations of internal House Rules. Over the decades, several forms of discipline have evolved in the House.

Known House Cases Involving Qualifications for Membership

This section includes a historical list of cases in which the House of Representatives has examined the qualifications of Members-elect to serve in the House for either constitutional or personal reasons.

House Calendars, 1899–2019

Explore the chronological history of legislation within a Congress

Resumes of Congressional Activity, 1947–2019

Explore a comprehensive account of legislative business of the House.