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(PUBLISHERS' NOTE:-The chapter on twenty-five years of age, a citizen of the Federal Government which follows is by Dr. United States for at least seven years and Samuel Rosenberg, formerly of the . Exam- a resident of the State he is chosen to repreining Staff of the United States Civil Service sent. Usually the Representative (generally Commission, at Washington.)
referred to as Congressman) is a resident of The laws of the United States are derived the district he is chosen to represent. At the in a great measure from the "common law” time of the adoption of the Constitution there of England. This common law of England was one Representative to every 30,000 popuwas followed to a great extent in the fram- lation or fraction thereof, the number of Reping of the Constitution of the United States. resentatives being 65; at the present time the The Constitution is the highest law of this ratio is one to every (approximately) 212,000, country. It prescribes the form of govern- the number of Representatives now being 435. ment and defines the power of the Government and the various public officials. The
Some States Have More Senators Than reasons for the Constitution are expressed in
Representatives. the “Preamble," which follows:
A peculiar incidence of this method of ap“We, the people of the United States, in
portioning Representatives according to popuorder to form a more perfect union, establish
lation is that Arizona, Delaware, Nevada and justice, insure domestic tranquillity, provide
New Mexico each have only one Representafor the common defense, promote the general
tive in Congress and two Senators each. welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to
(NOTE:- Taking note of this fact would ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution of the United States
come in handy in case a question were asked:
"Name four States that have more Senators of America."
than Representatives.") Three Grand Divisions.
The Representatives are elected in Novem
ber of the even year and take office theoretiThe government of the United States is divided into three separate and distinct divi
cally on March 4th of the following year, but. sions or departments, which are called respec: : begin wnfil. the following December—thirteen
the •session of Congress does not actually tively :
months. after the Representatives have been The Legislative, or law-making;
elected: The Executive, or law-enforcing : The Judicial, or law-interpreting.
-Apportionment. The Legislative, or law-making body of the
After each decennial census is taken and United States, is called Congress. Congress
the population of the various States is known. consists of the House of Representatives and
Congress passes an act fixing the number of the Senate.
Representatives of the next House of RepreThe House of Representatives Fras. been called the lower house and the Senate the
sentatives and redistributes the Representa
tives among the States according to the new upper house. These two houses traje • fre
figures obtained." - Then each State Legislaquently been compared with the House of Commons and the House of Lords of the tricts when a change in representation has
ture divides the State into Congressional disEnglish Parliament. There are, however, a
been made. number of differences between our Senáte and the British House of Lords, but it is un- Somě. Stares Have No Congressional Disnecessary to consider them in this article.
tricts. House of Representatives.
In some States, notably North and South The House of Representatives is composed
Dakota and Washington, instead of the State of members chosen every second year by the
being divided into Congressional districts, the peopie of the several States. Two years was
voters of the entire State vote for as many selected as the term of office rather than
Representatives as the entire State is entitled five years or one year, both of which terms
to. By this method the Representatives more of office were considered at the framing of
directly represent the choice of the majority the Constitution. If the chosen man is worthy
of the voters of the State instead of the maand well qualified, it is an easy matter to re
jority of the voters of a district of the State. elect him for another term, whereas it is not so easy to remove him from office should he
Powers of the Speaker of the House. prove in any way undesirable.
The presiding officer of the House of RepNaturalized citizens are entitled to hold resentatives is the Speaker. He is a membffice as Representatives; in fact, they are ber of the House chosen by the members to permitted to hold any office in the United act as Speaker. He has no vote except in States except the office of President or Vice- cases of a tie vote, but as he has consider-President.
able power in influencing legislation because However, there are certain qualifications of his position, the State from which he is necessary for one to be elected as a Repre- chosen, while theoretically losing his vote sentative. These are that he must be at least on bills presented, still gains much. He refers bills to the various committees, pre- courts. Territories are usually admitted a sides over debates and may recognize States on attaining a sufficient population. whomsoever he wills to "give the floor" (the Legislation is now controlled to a certain right to speak before the House). His extent by committees. Several thousand power is, therefore, almost dictatorial. He bills are introduced by Congress each year, also decides points of order and procedure, but the majority of those seriously considfrequently to the benefit of his own party. ered are those introduced by the committee
Other officers of the House of Represent- whose duty it is to prepare legislation on atives are chosen by the members. Among the particular subject. these are the Chaplain, Clerk, Sergeant-atArms, Doorkeeper, Secretary to the Speak
Principal Committees of the House of Reper, etc., etc. Each House is the sole judge
resentatives. of the elections, returns and the right of members to a seat in such House. A ma
The principal committees are:
The Committee of the Whole House, in jority constitutes a quorum, but a smaller number may adjourn from day to day and
which the entire House acts as a committee, may be authorized to compel the attendance
under the chairmanship, not of the Speaker, of absent members.
but of some member designated by the The House of Representatives has the
Speaker to act as chairman. sole power of impeachment. The subject of
The Committee of Ways and Means (of impeachment will be more fully considered
raising revenue). under the powers of the Senate.
The Committee on Appropriations. Should a member of the House die or for
The Committee on Rivers and Harbors. any other reason his seat become vacant, the
Committee on Interstate and Foreign
Commerce. Governor of the State he represents calls an election to fill the vacancy, and the Repre
Committee on Foreign Affairs. sentative thus chosen holds office for the re
Committee on Military Affairs. mainder of the unexpired term. He is eli
Committee on Banking and Currency.
Committee on Post Offices. gible for re-election the same as other members.
Judiciary Committee, and many others.
There are in all about fifty-nine standing The House Could Elect the President of the
committees; the standing committees are
the important ones. United States. The House of Representatives' adso elects;
The Senate. the President of the United States if the: popular (general ) election fails. Thus sub o : ironicach State regardless of the popula.
The Senate is composed of two members ject is more fully discussed uuder the Executive department.
tiop of the State. Delaware, Arizona, Nevada and New Mexico, while having suffi
cient population for only one RepresentaRevenue Bills Must Originate in the House
tive, are each entitled to two Senators. of Representatives.
It was the intention of the framers of the All bills for the raising of revenue must
Constitiition that the Senators should reporiginate in the House •of Representatives, resent.the,. State and the Representatives but the Senate may add amendments, and in
reprçsout the people. To this end the Senthis way entirely change the bills for rais- ators were, until the passage of the Sevening revenue which originated bttre House: teenth Amendment, elected by the LegislaBefore a bill can become a 1a wit must be tare of the State. The Senate was intended passed by both houses; so it is seen'that the
to be a more mature body than the House, revenue bills that have been passed by the. •as evidenced by the qualifications: House and amended by the Senate must be
A Senator must be at least thirty years of sent back to the House for vote before they
age (five years more than that required for can become law.
a Representative), must be a citizen for nine
years (two years more than required for a How Territories are Represented and Gov
Representative), and must be a resident of
the State he is chosen to represent. erned. Territories are represented in Congress How the Senate Changes Membership. by a Territorial Delegate, who may take part in all discussions, but he has no vote. The manner in which the Senators take
The Territories are under the direct con- office is somewhat different from that of the trol of Congress, having a Governor, ap- Representatives. While the term of office pointed by the President with the consent of of the Senators is six years, yet only the Senate for four years; and a "Legislative third of them are elected to office at jy Assembly," consisting of a Council and a one time, so that there must remain fw; House of Representatives, chosen for two thirds of the members who have had exçi:years by the people. The judges of the ter- rience in the Senate previously, in additio's ritorial courts are appointed for four years to those who have been re-elected. This by the President with the consent of the insures that the Senators will constituti Senate. The United States Supreme Court more experienced body than the Represe' : has appellate jurisdiction over the territorial tives, whose term of office is only two yen,
and whose inembership changes greatly at had the sole power of impeachment. There each election.
seems to be an impression among students
of civil government that the Constitution How Many Senators There Are. confers upon both the House of Representa
tives and the Senate the sole power of imThere are now 96 Senators, there being peachment This impression is manifestly 48 States.
wrong, for it would not be a "sole" power
if granted separately to both houses. The The Seventeenth Amendment.
House has the sole power of impeachment; At the present time Senators are elected
that is, the charges are brought in the by a direct vote of the people, the same as
House. The Senate has not the right to Representatives. The Seventeenth Amend
bring the charges, but merely to TRY the
charges. It would be unfair to have the ment states: “The Senate of the United States shall be
charges brought and tried by the same body. composed of two Senators from each State,
In impeachment the Senate's position is elected by the people thereof, for six years;
that of a court to act on the charges brought and each Senator shall have one vote. The
up by the House of Representatives. The electors in each State shall have the quali
House, after passing a resolution of imfications requisite for electors of the most
a committee to prosenumerous branch of the State Legislatures.
cute the charges. The committee employs "When vacancies happen in the represent
counsel, as in any civil or criminal case, and ation of any State in the Senate, the execu
the Senate agrees to a date for the trial.
The accused is given the right to be heard, tive authority of such State shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancies: Provided,
to employ counsel and to summon witThat the Legislature of any State may empower the executive thereof to make temporary appointments until the people fill the
Members of Congress Cannot Be Imvacancies by election as the Legislature may direct.
peached. "This amendment shall not be so
The Senate, while acting as a Court of strued as to affect the election or term of
Impeachment, in 1799, held that the Constiany Senator chosen before it becomes valid
turion did not intend that impeachment as part of the Constitution."
should extend to Senators or Representa
tives, as these were “legislators" and could Powers of the Senate.
not be considered as "officers” in the sense
intended by: the Constitution, which says: The Senate has exceptional power, greater "The President, Vice-President and all than the House, and can even set the will
civil officers of the United States, shall be of the President aside in many cases Its
removed from office on impeachment for, legislative powers are equal to those of the
and conviction of, treason, bribery, or other House of Representatives, except in the
high crimes and misdemeanors." matter of finance bills, which must originate The opinion of the Court of Impeachment in the House of Representatives, but even is final, so its opinion that Senators and in this class of bills the Senate may change
Representatives are exempt from impeachthem in almost any way it desires, and so ment has had to stand. has practically the same power. Because of
A two-thirds vote is necessary to convict the shorter term of office of the Representa-. in cases of impeachment. tives they are called to account (at the elec- Through its treaty power the Senate has tions) by the voters more frequently than a strong influence on the foreign policy of the Senators, and for this reason they are the United States. usually willing to agree to changes in bills
The Constitution provides that "the Senmade by the Senate, if their refusal to do so
ators and Representatives shall receive a would imperil the passing of the bill.
compensation for their services, to be ascerBy refusing to ratify the selections of the
tained by law and paid out of the Treasury President for appointments and by refusing of the United States." to sanction treaties made by the President,
The salary of the Senators is $7,500 per the Senate can practically nullify acts of the
year, the same as that of a Representative, President.
and mileage (20 cents per mile in going to
and coming from each session). Impeachment. The Senate, furthermore, has the sole Principal Committees of the Senate. power of trying impeachments. When sitting for this purpose it is on oath or affirma- Like the House of Representatives, the tion. When the President of the United Senate has many committees which correStates is tried the Chief Justice presides. It spond with committees in the House. would be manifestly, unjust to have the The principal committees are: Vice-President preside when the President Appropriations. is impeached.
Finance (corresponding to Ways and We learned under the powers of the Means). House of Representatives that the House Commerce (including shipping).
? Interstate Commerce.
rest for such crime as provided in the clause Foreign Relations.
above quoted. Post Offices and Post Roads.
The term of Congress is two years. At Naval Affairs.
the end of this two years a new Congress Military Affairs.
begins. The Congressional term 'is comJudiciary.
posed of two sessions, called, respectively, Owing to the comparatively small number the Long Session and the Short Session. of Senators and the relatively large num- The Long Session begins March 4th in the ber of committees, a Senator is usually a odd year (the year following the election), member of many committees, whereas in the and ends in the summer or late spring. The House, owing to the large membership, a Short Session begins, theoretically, on Representative is rarely found on more than March 4th of the even year (while the long one committee.
session is actually going on), and ends Like the House of Representatives, the March 4th of the odd year. As the term of Senate chooses its own officers (except its office of all the Representatives expires on President, who is the Vice-President of the March 4th of the odd year, as likewise the United States). These officers correspond term of office of one-third of the Senators fairly well to those of the House and most expires at the same time, the session of Conof them have similar titles.
gress cannot run into the summer of the The presiding officer of the Senate is the
While the session of Congress Vice-President of the United States, who is theoretically begins on March 4th, the date ex-officio (by virtue of his office) President of opening the session is the first Monday of the Senate. Unlike the Speaker of the of December. It is for this reason that the House, who is elected by the Representa- long session can extend into the summer, tives themselves from among their own beyond the date on which the short session number, the President of the Senate is theoretically begins. elected at the general election (by means of electors), and therefore his term of office
Powers of Congress. is four years.
The duties and powers of Congress as a
whole are: How the Senate Can Elect the Vice.
To lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts President.
and excises, to pay the debts and provide In addition to the powers and duties of: •for the common defense and general welfare the Senate already given above, the:Senate of the United States; but all duties, imposts elects the Vice-President of the United and excises shall be uniform throughout the States if the Electoral Colleg'e :Fails to give
United States. a majority of the votes toány, candidate.
To Borrow money on the credit of the
To regulate commerce with foreign naThe Senate must vote on all bills before
tions and among the several States and with
the Indian, tribes. they can become laws. Just before Congress tröse's its sessions
To establish uniform naturalization and the Vice-President retires and the Senate
bankruprey, laws throughout the United
States: elects a President pro tempore.(temporary), who is to fill the place of the Vice President
Tocoin money and regulate its value, and in case the latter for any reason is called ța
the value of foreign coins, and fix the standfill the office of the President before the art of weights and measures. next session, or in case the Vice-President
To provide for the punishment of counis incapable of fulfilling his position :
terfeiting of the securities and currency of •the United States.
To establish post offices and post roads. Exemption of Members of Congress from To promote the progress of sciences and Arrest.
useful arts, by securing for limited times
to authors and inventors the exclusive right Both Senators and Representatives "shall, to their respective writings and discoverin all cases, except treason, felony and ies. breach of the peace, be privileged from ar- To constitute courts inferior to the Surest during their attendance at the session
preme Court. of their respective houses, and in going to To define and provide for the punishment and returning from the same; and for any of piracies and other crimes committed ore speech or debate in either house they shall the high seas, and offenses against the lane not be questioned in any other place."
of nations, when committed by citizens ove In the absence of a clause giving freedom the United States and by citizens of foreignfrom arrest to the members of both houses, countries according to treaties between suchy it would be easily possible to prevent a countries and the Uniied States. member of either House from being pres- To declare war, grant letters of marque ent and thus permit the passing of any ob- and reprisal and make rules concerning capnoxious law opposed by the members de- tures on land and water. tained under arrest. A member who is To raise and support armies, but no ap guilty of a high crime is very undesirable as propriation of money to that use shall be for a Congressman, and should be liable to ar- a longer term than two years.