Over the past 200 years or so, the relationship between the House of Representatives and the Senate has changed quite a bit, but not always for the better. The relationship between Congress as a whole and the Presidency has also changed during this time period, but the same is also true of it.
There are several reasons why this has happened, and they will be addressed in this paper. Also addressed here will be the extent to which these relationships have changed over the course of time. Both of these issues are very important, not just in understanding the history of our great country, but in making some kind of prediction for where it might be going in the not so far-distant future.
Some believe that the whole country is having problems and is on the verge of collapse. Major corporations have been found guilty of terrible crimes, the stock market has lost a lot of ground, the news is full of all of the terrible things that Americans do to each other on a daily basis. So what is it about America that makes people stick around?
Our government, for one thing. It is far from perfect but it runs more efficiently than the governments of many other countries that have democracies. It's also important to remember that we do have a democracy here. People can vote for the things and people that they like and don't like, instead of just being told by someone else what they will like. There are many countries where this is not the case. We are very fortunate to live where we do, and this is one of the reasons why we support our government through all of the changes it undergoes. Those changes are sometimes good and sometimes bad but in the end they all help the country to continue on its course.
The changing relationships will be focused on, but they will not be the only thing discussed in the following pages. Knowledge of the history of the United States Congress is very important in forming a clear understanding of the changes that have taken place and the factors that helped to shape them. The history will come first, so that the changes will be less difficult to understand. Once some of the workings of Congress are made clear, one begins to see the reasons that specific changes need to be made, and how those changes can be brought about.
The history of Congress is very long and detailed, and there is not room in this paper to make a thorough analysis of everything that has happened in that history during the last 200 years. Since space does not allow for a complete analysis of Congress, every effort will be made to explain things in as much detail as possible, giving the reader the main ideas of important happenings without boring the reader with great detail about trivial matters that did not hold much significance in either internal or external Congressional relationships.
By talking about the main happenings of Congress over the last 200 years, there will be some discussion of important bills passed and important Presidents, but mostly the history of Congress will deal with how they functioned and what kind of conflicts they faced during their first 200 years. There were many things that they had to deal with, especially early on, and it's important to know that some of the problems our modern day Congress has were with them from the very start of things. The same is true of concerns that plague the President with respect to Congress. Many of those conflicts and problems have been around from the first day of the first session as well.
After finishing this paper, the reader should have full knowledge of the main events and significant happenings in Congress, as they relate to conflict, over the last 200 years; the relationships between the House of Representatives and the Senate as well as between the whole of Congress and the President; and the kinds of and reasons for changes that have taken place over the history of the United States Congress. To make the paper easier to read, it will be broken down into seven different sections, with the first section being the introduction.
The second section will deal with the first 100 years of Congress, and the third section will deal with the second 100 years. No real effort will be made to keep everything in chronological order, since dates are not the concern here. The general ideas of conflict and how they carry through the first 200 years are the main focus.
The fourth section will discuss the current internal relationship between the House of Representatives and the Senate, and the fifth section will detail the relationship that currently exists between Congress and the President. The sixth section will show how and why these relationships have changed over the last 200 years, and the seventh and final section will have some brief concluding remarks and a short summary of the paper's information.
While some sections will obviously need more room than others, effort will be made to balance them out so that each section has enough space for a fair and honest discussion of the issues and conflicts that were apparent during that time in history.
Congress in the First 100 Years:
The concept of a governing body has always been with the United States, but the Congress that has remained with us until present day actually began with 11 states ratifying the Constitution on March 3, 1789. On that day, however, the people elected to Congress didn't just walk in, sit down, and start doing the kinds of things that they do today. They had so many more important things to do, such as inaugurating the President and Vice President, establishing a court system, and getting all of the other branches of government that the Constitution created underway.
Many of those things couldn't be done right away, either, because offices had to be organized, rules had to be followed; some had to be created. It was not an easy matter for the first Congress. The biggest problem they had at first was attendance. Either many people got delayed in their travels or no one took it very seriously, because their were many absences during that first session.
The first time the Congress met, many of the people elected to it didn't even show up. The House of Representatives had only 13 of the 59 men that were supposed to be there, and the Senate had only eight people from five different states. They adjourned early, because there were not enough of them to do anything worthwhile. Later on more of the people that were supposed to be there showed up, but the Congressional session clearly wasn't going to start on time, and quite a few people were somewhat unclear just what exactly they had to do to make the country run.
Even though they got off to a rather shaky start, the Congress did eventually get itself on its feet. It took a while, but things were organized, rules were made, protocols were studied, and general agreement was reached about what to do about various issues and problems. Both the House of Representatives and the Senate began to follow the directives that were set out in the Constitution.
They elected speakers, clerks, and other people of importance within each governing body, and they worked well with each other in the beginning. Their goals were basically the same, and there was so much to do to the fledgling nation that they didn't have time to bicker much or argue about small disagreements that will likely pop up anytime a large number of people gather together. There was some dissent among the ranks, as is expected, but for the most par the House and Senate got along relatively well with each other, as each took their jobs very seriously and didn't spend their days devising new ways to undermine the other branch or the other political party.
When the first inauguration, that of George Washington, took place, the House and the Senate both stood on ceremony. They were very formal with each other and they made sure that they performed everything the way rules and directives asked for, because it was all new to all of them and they didn't want to make mistakes. The Senate sent someone to the House chamber to formally announce that they were ready for the counting of the votes.
The House then sent someone back to the Senate a little while later to say that they too were ready and would be coming to the Senate chamber. There was no showing up uninvited back then. Everything was done very formally and professionally, which is something our modern day Congress doesn't always seem to do well at.
After the inauguration, the next thing on the list for both the House…