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.
View a chart of House political party divisions since 1789.
View a chart with the dates the House has been in session, from 1789 to the present.
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).
View a chart with the dates the House has been in session from, 1789 to the present.
View a chart of the Presidents of the United States and the number of veto messages each issued.
View a chart of the 44 U.S. Presidents and Vice President terms with their corresponding Congresses.
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.
For more than a century, seat assignment in the U.S. House of Representatives was an important element in congressional life.
This section includes the total number of Members who have served in Congress, as well as the numbers who have served each state.
These PDFs include Members of the House of Representatives in Congresses since the 114th (2015–2017).
Since Congress convened in 1789, 29 Members have served 40 years or longer in the House of Representatives.
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.
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.”
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.
View a list of House vacancies and successors from the 105th through the 115th Congresses (1999–2019).
Since the start of the modern party system in 1856, the House of Representatives has changed majority 18 times.
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.
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.
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.
Explore the chronological history of legislation within a Congress
Explore a comprehensive account of legislative business of the House.