New Jersey Senate
The New Jersey Senate was established as the upper house of the New Jersey Legislature by the Constitution of 1844, replacing the Legislative Council. There are 40 legislative districts, representing districts with average populations of 210,359; each district has one senator and two members of the New Jersey General Assembly, the lower house of the legislature. Prior to the election in which they are chosen, senators must be a minimum of 30 years old and a resident of the state for four years to be eligible to serve in office. From 1844 until 1965, each county was an electoral district, with each county electing one senator. Under the 1844 Constitution the term of office was three years; the 1947 Constitution changed the term to four years. Since 1968 it has consisted of 40 senators. Senators serve a two-year term at the beginning of each decade, with the rest of the decade divided into two four-year terms; the "2-4-4" cycle was put into place so that Senate elections can reflect the changes made to the district boundaries on the basis of the decennial United States Census.
If the cycle were not put into place the boundaries would sometimes be four years out of date before being used for Senate elections. Rather, with the varied term, the boundaries are only two years out of date, thus elections for Senate seats take place in years ending with a "1", "3" or "7". Interim appointments are made to fill vacant legislative seats by the county committee or committees of the party of the vacating person; the office is on the ballot for the next general election, unless the vacancy occurred within 51 days of the election. The appointment stands until the following general election. Senatorial courtesy is a senate tradition that allows home county legislators to intercede to prevent consideration of a local resident nominated by the Governor for a position that requires Senate confirmation. Any of the senators from the nominee's home county can invoke senatorial courtesy to block a nomination, temporarily or permanently, without any obligation to justify the basis of their actions.
Governor Corzine nominated Stuart Rabner on June 4, 2007, to be the next Chief Justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court, replacing James R. Zazzali, nearing mandatory retirement age. Shortly after the nomination, two members of the Senate from Essex County, where Rabner resides, blocked consideration of his confirmation by invoking senatorial courtesy. State Senator Ronald Rice had blocked the nomination, but relented on June 15, 2007, after a meeting with the governor. Nia Gill dropped her block on June 19, 2007, but did not explain the nature of her concerns, though anonymous lawmakers cited in The New York Times indicated that the objection was due to Rabner's race and Governor Corzine's failure to consider a minority candidate for the post. In June 2007, Loretta Weinberg used senatorial courtesy privileges to hold up consideration of a new term in office for Bergen County Prosecutor John Molinelli; until 2010, in the event of a gubernatorial vacancy, the New Jersey Constitution had specified that the President of the Senate would assume the role of Acting Governor and retain their role in the Senate.
An Acting Governor would assume the governorship while retaining the reins of power in their house of the legislature. The Lieutenant Governor of New Jersey took office for the first time on January 19, 2010, following conjoint election with the Governor of New Jersey; the position was created as the result of a Constitutional amendment to the New Jersey State Constitution passed by the voters on November 8, 2005. While the amendment itself took effect as of January 17, 2006, made some interim changes to the succession to the governorship, the first lieutenant governor was not elected until November 3, 2009. District 1: Bob Andrzejczak District 2: Chris A. Brown District 3: Stephen M. Sweeney District 4: Fred H. Madden District 5: Nilsa Cruz-Perez District 6: James Beach District 7: Troy Singleton District 8: Dawn Marie Addiego District 9: Christopher J. Connors District 10: James W. Holzapfel District 11: Vin Gopal District 12: Samuel D. Thompson District 13: Declan O'Scanlon District 14: Linda R. Greenstein District 15: Shirley Turner District 16: Christopher Bateman District 17: Bob Smith District 18: Patrick J. Diegnan District 19: Joseph Vitale District 20: Joseph Cryan District 21: Thomas Kean, Jr. District 22: Nicholas Scutari District 23: Michael J. Doherty District 24: Steve Oroho District 25: Anthony Bucco District 26: Joseph Pennacchio District 27: Richard Codey District 28: Ronald Rice District 29: Teresa Ruiz District 30: Robert Singer District 31: Sandra Bolden Cunningham District 32: Nicholas Sacco District 33: Brian P. Stack District 34: Nia Gill District 35: Nellie Pou District 36: Paul Sarlo District 37: Loretta Weinberg District 38: Joseph Lagana District 39: Gerald Cardinale District 40: Kristin Corrado Committee chairs for the 2018-2019 Legislative Session are: Budget and Appropriations - Paul Sarlo Commerce - Nellie Pou Community and Urban Affairs - Jeff Van Drew Economic Growth - Nilsa Cruz-Perez Education - Teresa Ruiz Environment and Energy - Bob Smith Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens - Joseph Vitale Higher Education - Sandra Bolden Cunningh
Bronze Star Medal
The Bronze Star Medal, unofficially the Bronze Star, is a United States decoration awarded to members of the United States Armed Forces for either heroic achievement, heroic service, meritorious achievement, or meritorious service in a combat zone. When the medal is awarded by the Army and Air Force for acts of valor in combat, the "V" Device is authorized for wear on the medal; when the medal is awarded by the Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard for acts of valor or meritorious service in combat, the Combat "V" is authorized for wear on the medal. Officers from the other Uniformed Services of the United States are eligible to receive this award, as are foreign soldiers who have served with or alongside a service branch of the United States Armed Forces. Civilians serving with U. S. military forces in combat are eligible for the award. For example, UPI reporter Joe Galloway was awarded the Bronze Star with "V" Device during the Vietnam War for rescuing a badly wounded soldier under fire in the Battle of la Drang, in 1965.
Another civilian recipient was writer Ernest Hemingway. The Bronze Star Medal was established by Executive Order 9419, 4 February 1944; the Bronze Star Medal may be awarded by the Secretary of a military department or the Secretary of Homeland Security with regard to the Coast Guard when not operating as a service in the Navy, or by such military commanders, or other appropriate officers as the Secretary concerned may designate, to any person who, while serving in any capacity in or with the Army, Marine Corps, Air Force, or Coast Guard of the United States, after 6 December 1941, distinguishes, or has distinguished, herself or himself by heroic or meritorious achievement or service, not involving participation in aerial flight— while engaged in an action against an enemy of the United States. The acts of heroism are of a lesser degree than required for the award of the Silver Star; the acts of merit or acts of valor must be less than that required for the Legion of Merit but must have been meritorious and accomplished with distinction.
The Bronze Star Medal is awarded only to service members in combat zones who are receiving imminent danger pay. The Bronze Star Medal may be awarded to each member of the Armed Forces of the United States who, after 6 December 1941, was cited in orders or awarded a certificate for exemplary conduct in ground combat against an armed enemy between 7 December 1941 and 2 September 1945. For this purpose, the US Army's Combat Infantryman Badge or Combat Medical Badge award is considered as a citation in orders. Documents executed since 4 August 1944 in connection with recommendations for the award of decorations of higher degree than the Bronze Star Medal cannot be used as the basis for an award under this paragraph. Effective 11 September 2001, the Meritorious Service Medal may be bestowed in lieu of the Bronze Star Medal for meritorious achievement in a designated combat theater; the Bronze Star Medal was designed by Rudolf Freund of the jewelry firm Banks & Biddle. The medal is a bronze star 1 1⁄2 inches in circumscribing diameter.
In the center is a 3⁄16 inch diameter superimposed bronze star, the center line of all rays of both stars coinciding. The reverse bears the inscription "HEROIC OR MERITORIOUS ACHIEVEMENT" with a space for the name of the recipient to be engraved; the star hangs from its ribbon by a rectangular metal loop with rounded corners. The suspension ribbon is 1 3⁄8 inches wide and consists of the following stripes: 1⁄32 inch white 67101; the Bronze Star Medal with the "V" device to denote heroism is the fourth highest military decoration for valor. Although a service member may be cited for heroism in combat and be awarded more than one Bronze Star authorizing the "V" device, only one "V" may be worn on each suspension and service ribbon of the medal; the following ribbon devices must be authorized in the award citation in order to be worn on the Bronze Star Medal, the criteria for and wear of the devices vary between the services: Oak leaf cluster – In the Army and Air Force, the oak leaf cluster is worn to denote additional awards.
5/16 inch star – In the Navy and Marine Corps and Coast Guard, the 5/16 inch star is worn to denote additional awards. "V" device – In the Army, the "V" is worn to denote "participation in acts of heroism involving conflict with an armed enemy.". Combat "V" – In the Navy and Marine Corps and Coast Guard, the "V" is worn to denote combat heroism or to recognize individuals who are "exposed to personal hazard during direct participation in combat operations". Colonel Russell P. "Red" Reeder conceived the idea of the Bronze Star Medal in 1943. Reeder felt another medal was needed as a ground equivalent of the Air Medal, suggested calling the proposed new award the "Ground Medal"; the idea rose through the military bureaucracy and gained supporters. General George C. Marshall, in a memorandum to President Franklin D. Roosevelt dated 3
218th New Jersey Legislature
The 218th New Jersey Legislature began on January 9, 2018 following the 2017 Elections. The session started in the end of Chris Christie's governorship and continued in the first two years of Phil Murphy's governorship; the elections where held on November 2017 alongside the 2017 New Jersey gubernatorial election. Phil Murphy and Sheila Oliver where elected Lieutenant Governor. In the elections for Senate republicans lost a net gain of one seat while in the Assembly elections republicans lost a net gain of two. Senate President: Stephen M. Sweeney President Pro Temp.: Teresa Ruiz Majority Leader: Loretta Weinberg Minority Leader: Thomas Kean Jr. Spaeker: Craig Coughlin Majority Leader: Louis Greenwald Minority Leader: Jon Bramnick The Senate has 40 members, one for each district The Assembly has 80 members, two for each district. Outgoing Governor Chris Christie delivered is last State of the State on January 9, 2018, he touted his legacy as Governor, such as his response to Hurricane Sandy, among other things.
On January 15, 2019 Governor Phil Murphy his first State of the State Address. In his address he called on the legislature to raise the minimum wage from $8 to $15, legalize recreational marijuana, tax reform, he touted his achievements in his first year such as raising income taxes on people making more than $5 million a year, beginning to make community college tuition free, increasing funding to Planned Parenthood, tighter gun laws. Again on March 5, 2019 Murphy addressed the Legislature to deliver his budget address. In the address he called for universal pre-k, eliminating tuition for community college, taxes on people with high income, increased spending. Senate President Stephen M. Sweeney, Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin said they are opposed to Murphy's proposed tax increases. List of New Jersey state legislatures
The Purple Heart is a United States military decoration awarded in the name of the president to those wounded or killed while serving, on or after April 5, 1917, with the U. S. military. With its forerunner, the Badge of Military Merit, which took the form of a heart made of purple cloth, the Purple Heart is the oldest military award still given to U. S. military members – the only earlier award being the obsolete Fidelity Medallion. The National Purple Heart Hall of Honor is located in New York; the original Purple Heart, designated as the Badge of Military Merit, was established by George Washington – the commander-in-chief of the Continental Army – by order from his Newburgh, New York headquarters on August 7, 1782. The Badge of Military Merit was only awarded to three Revolutionary War soldiers by Gen. George Washington himself. General Washington authorized his subordinate officers to issue Badges of Merit as appropriate. From on, as its legend grew, so did its appearance. Although never abolished, the award of the badge was not proposed again until after World War I.
On October 10, 1927, Army Chief of Staff General Charles Pelot Summerall directed that a draft bill be sent to Congress "to revive the Badge of Military Merit". The bill was withdrawn and action on the case ceased January 3, 1928, but the office of the Adjutant General was instructed to file all materials collected for possible future use. A number of private interests sought to have the medal re-instituted in the Army. On January 7, 1931, Summerall's successor, General Douglas MacArthur, confidentially reopened work on a new design, involving the Washington Commission of Fine Arts. Elizabeth Will, an Army heraldic specialist in the Office of the Quartermaster General, was named to redesign the newly revived medal, which became known as the Purple Heart. Using general specifications provided to her, Will created the design sketch for the present medal of the Purple Heart; the new design, which exhibits a bust and profile of George Washington, was issued on the bicentennial of Washington's birth.
Will's obituary, in the edition of February 8, 1975 of The Washington Post newspaper, reflects her many contributions to military heraldry. The Commission of Fine Arts solicited plaster models from three leading sculptors for the medal, selecting that of John R. Sinnock of the Philadelphia Mint in May 1931. By Executive Order of the President of the United States, the Purple Heart was revived on the 200th Anniversary of George Washington's birth, out of respect to his memory and military achievements, by War Department General Order No. 3, dated February 22, 1932. The criteria were announced in a War Department circular dated February 22, 1932, authorized award to soldiers, upon their request, awarded the Meritorious Service Citation Certificate, Army Wound Ribbon, or were authorized to wear Wound Chevrons subsequent to April 5, 1917, the day before the United States entered World War I; the first Purple Heart was awarded to MacArthur. During the early period of American involvement in World War II, the Purple Heart was awarded both for wounds received in action against the enemy and for meritorious performance of duty.
With the establishment of the Legion of Merit, by an Act of Congress, the practice of awarding the Purple Heart for meritorious service was discontinued. By Executive Order 9277, dated December 3, 1942, the decoration was applied to all services; this executive order authorized the award only for wounds received. For both military and civilian personnel during the World War II era, to meet eligibility for the Purple Heart, AR 600-45, dated September 22, 1943, May 3, 1944, required identification of circumstances. After the award was re-authorized in 1932 some U. S. Army wounded from conflicts prior to the first World War applied for, were awarded, the Purple Heart: "...veterans of the Civil War and Indian Wars, as well as the Spanish–American War, China Relief Expedition, Philippine Insurrection were awarded the Purple Heart. This is because the original regulations governing the award of the Purple Heart, published by the Army in 1932, provided that any soldier, wounded in any conflict involving U.
S. Army personnel might apply for the new medal. There were but two requirements: the applicant had to be alive at the time of application and he had to prove that he had received a wound that necessitated treatment by a medical officer."Subject to approval of the Secretary of Defense, Executive Order 10409, dated February 12, 1952, revised authorizations to include the Service Secretaries. Dated April 25, 1962, Executive Order 11016, included provisions for posthumous award of the Purple Heart. Dated February 23, 1984, Executive Order 12464, authorized award of the Purple Heart as a result of terrorist attacks, or while serving as part of a peacekeeping force, subsequent to March 28, 1973. On June 13, 1985, the Senate approved an amendment to the 1985 Defense Authorization Bill, which changed the precedence of the Purple Heart award, from above the Good Conduct Medal to above the Meritorious Service Medals. Public Law 99-145 authorized the award for wounds received as a result of friendly fire.
Public Law 104-106 expanded the eligibility date, authorizing award of the Purple Heart to a former prisoner of war, wounded after April 25, 1962. The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1998 changed the criteria to delete authorization for award of the Purple Heart to any non-military U. S. national s
The Oprah Winfrey Show
The Oprah Winfrey Show referred to as Oprah, is an American syndicated talk show that aired nationally for 25 seasons from September 8, 1986, to May 25, 2011, in Chicago, Illinois. Produced and hosted by its namesake, Oprah Winfrey, it remains the highest-rated daytime talk show in American television history; the show was influential, many of its topics have penetrated into the American pop-cultural consciousness. Winfrey used the show as an educational platform, featuring book clubs, self-improvement segments, philanthropic forays into world events; the show did not attempt to profit off the products. Oprah had its roots in A. M. Chicago, a half-hour morning talk show airing on WLS-TV, an ABC owned-and-operated station in Chicago. Winfrey took over as host on January 2, 1984 and, within a month, took it from last place to first place in local Chicago ratings. Following Winfrey's success in—and Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations for-her performance as Sofia in the film The Color Purple, on September 8, 1986, the talk show was relaunched under its current title and picked up nationally.
For the premiere, the show's producers tried rigorously to book Miami Vice's Don Johnson as the first guest trying to bribe him with Dom Pérignon and a pair of rhinestone sunglasses. All attempts to book Johnson failed and Winfrey decided to "do what we do best, and, a show about and with everyday people"; the topic for the premiere show was "How to Marry the Man or Woman of Your Choice". Oprah was one of the longest-running daytime television talk shows in history; the show received 47 Daytime Emmy Awards before Winfrey chose to stop submitting it for consideration in 2000. In 2002, TV Guide ranked it at #49 on TV Guide's 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time. In 2013, they ranked it as the 19th greatest TV show of all time. In November 2009, Winfrey announced that the show would conclude in 2011 following its 25th and final season; the series finale aired on May 25, 2011. Winfrey interviewed a plethora of public figures and everyday people during the show's 25-year history; when celebrities and newsmakers were ready to share their most intimate secrets their first stop was Winfrey's couch and when a serious story hit, the Oprah show focused on putting a human face on the headlines.
Winfrey claims her worst interviewing experience was with Elizabeth Taylor in the show's second season. Just before the interview, Taylor asked Winfrey not to ask any questions about her relationships. Winfrey found this to be a challenge considering. Taylor returned to the show in 1992, apologized to Winfrey and told her that she was in excruciating back and hip pain at the time. On February 10, 1993, Winfrey sat down in a prime-time special broadcast with Michael Jackson, who had performed nine days earlier in the Super Bowl XXVII halftime show, for what would become the most-watched interview in television history. Jackson, an intensely private entertainer, had not given an interview in 14 years; the event was broadcast live from Jackson's Neverland Ranch and was watched by 90 million people worldwide result his studio album Dangerous on the top-ten charts. Jackson discussed missing out on a normal childhood and his strained relationship with his father, Joe Jackson. During the interview, Jackson attempted to dispel many of the rumors surrounding him and told Winfrey he suffered from the skin-pigment disorder known as vitiligo when asked about the change in the color of his skin.
While admitting to getting a nose job, he denied all other plastic surgery rumors. In the interview, Jackson was joined by his close friend Elizabeth Taylor, her third appearance on the show. Winfrey's interview with Tom Cruise, broadcast on May 23, 2005 gained notoriety. Cruise "jumped around the set, hopped onto a couch, fell rapturously to one knee and professed his love for his then-girlfriend, Katie Holmes." This scene became part of American pop-cultural discourse and was parodied in media. Celine Dion appeared on the show 28 times, the most of any celebrity, besides Gayle King, Winfrey's best friend, who appeared 141 times. Winfrey interviewed Chicago's "Guardian Angels" and Raymond Lear in 1988. Winfrey interviewed Kathy Bray three weeks after her 10-year-old son, was accidentally killed by a friend who had found his father's gun. Viewers commented that the interview changed their feelings about having guns in their homes. In the 1989–90 season, Truddi Chase—a woman, diagnosed with dissociative identity disorder, having 92 distinct personalities—appeared on the show.
Chase had been violently and sexually abused beginning at the age of two and said her old self ceased to exist after that. After introducing Chase, there to promote her book When Rabbit Howls, Winfrey unexpectedly broke down in tears while reading the teleprompter, relating her own childhood molestation to that of the guest. Unable to control herself, Winfrey asked producers to stop filming. Erin Kramp, a mother dying of breast cancer, appeared on the show in 1998. After realizing that her six-year-old daughter, would have to grow up without her, Kramp began recording videotapes filled with motherly advice on everything from makeup tips to finding a husband, she wrote letters and bought gifts for Peyton to open every Christmas and birthday she was gone. Kramp lost her battle with cancer on October 31, 1998, she had recorded over a hundred audiotapes for her daughter. Jo Ann Compton's daughter Laurie Ann was stabbed to death in 1988—and a decade the mom was tangled in her grief. "I hope they're in the same hell
Media is a borough in and the county seat of Delaware County, United States, about 13 miles west of Philadelphia. Media was incorporated in 1850 at the same time; the population was 5,327 at the 2010 census, down from 5,533 at the 2000 census. Its school district is the Rose Tree Media School District with Penncrest High School and Springton Lake Middle School. In June 2006, it became the first fair trade town in America. Media promotes itself by its motto: "Everybody's Hometown"; the history of the area goes back to William Penn, but the area remained predominantly rural until the twentieth century. Land in the area was sold and settled soon after William Penn was named proprietor of the colony of Pennsylvania in 1681 by King Charles II of England. Peter and William Taylor bought the land. At the time, the land was located in Chester County. Providence Township was organized in 1684, divided into Upper Providence and Nether Providence townships by 1690 though they only had 40 taxable properties at the time.
The current borough, formed in 1850, sits between the two townships. In 1683, the Court of Chester County approved the construction of "Providence Great Road"; the road, which runs north from Chester to within a few blocks of today's downtown, is shown on a 1687 map along with the names of local landowners. It forms the eastern border of the borough. Thomas Minshall, a Quaker, was an early Media resident, settling just outside the small village known as "Providence", along the Providence Great Road; the village included a tailor shop, blacksmith shop, wheelwright shop and other buildings. Minshall bought 625 acres from William Penn and arrived in 1682; the Providence Friends Meeting was established at his house in February 1688, a meetinghouse was built on land he donated for the purpose. The original meetinghouse was built out of logs in 1699 or 1700, the current building dates to 1814. A house on Minshall's property, built c. 1750, still stands and was given to the citizens of the borough in 1975.
Chester County, Pennsylvania was divided in 1789, the eastern portion becoming Delaware County, Pennsylvania. The area in the center of the new county remained rural through 1850. On March 11, 1850, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania by Special Act of Assembly incorporated the Borough of Media, made the sale of malt and spirituous liquors unlawful within its borders. At the same time, the county seat of Delaware County was moved to Media from Chester; the borough was formed from four farms purchased by the county. The borders of the borough have not changed since that time. Streets were plotted in a rectangular grid around the location of the new courthouse, lots were sold at public auctions, the construction of houses began. Sources agree that Minshall Painter, a descendant of Thomas Minshall, suggested the name "Media", but do not agree on the reason; the name most comes from the borough's central location in Delaware County. The John J. Tyler Arboretum occupies part of Thomas Minshall's original 625 acres.
This farm was used by the Underground Railroad. The land was donated to a public trust in 1944 by an eighth-generation descendant; the arboretum was started as a private collection by Minshall Painter. In 1825, they began systematically planting over 1,000 varieties of shrubs. Over twenty of their original trees survive, including a giant sequoia. Minshall Painter was a leader of the Delaware County Institute of Science, formed on September 21, 1833, with just four other members: George Miller, John Miller, George Smith, M. D. and John Cassin. The institute was incorporated in 1836. About 1850, Painter gave the institute the land where its building stands at 11 Veterans Square, the building was constructed in 1867. In the second half of the 19th century, Media was a summer resort for well-to-do Philadelphians; the borough's large vacation hotels included the Idlewild Hotel on Lincoln Street at Gayley Terrace, Chestnut Grove House or "The Colonial" on Orange Street, Brooke Hall on Orange Street and Washington Avenue.
The Chestnut Grove was used for a year by nearby Swarthmore College due to a fire on its campus. The West Chester and Philadelphia Railroad was built through Media on October 19, 1854. Electrified service was opened on December 2, 1928. Up to 50 trains passed through each day; the railroad became part of the Philadelphia and Baltimore Railroad and the Penn Central. SEPTA took over operations in 1983. Woodrow Wilson spoke at the Media Station in 1912 during his first election campaign. Trolley transportation lines spread to and through Media in early 1900s; the Media Theatre opened as a vaudeville house in 1927. The first'talkie' film, The Jazz Singer, was shown there, it remained a popular cinema through the 1980s. In 1994, the theater underwent a $1 million restoration by Walter Strine Sr. and re-opened as the'Media Theatre for the Performing Arts'. Shows produced there have included The Full Monty and Miss Saigon. On March 8, 1971, the Citizens' Commission to Investigate the FBI raided an FBI "resident agency" in Media.
They released thousands of documents to major newspapers around the country. These documents revealed FBI tactics, like the recruitment of Boy Scouts as informants, confirmed for the first time the existence of COINTELPRO, an FBI program to "expose, misdirect, discredit, or otherwise neutralize" dissident groups in the United States. In June 2006, Media became the first town in the United States to follow over 300 towns in Europe in attaining fair t
United States House of Representatives
The United States House of Representatives is the lower chamber of the United States Congress, the Senate being the upper chamber. Together they compose the legislature of the United States; the composition of the House is established by Article One of the United States Constitution. The House is composed of Representatives who sit in congressional districts that are allocated to each of the 50 states on a basis of population as measured by the U. S. Census, with each district entitled to one representative. Since its inception in 1789, all Representatives have been directly elected; the total number of voting representatives is fixed by law at 435. As of the 2010 Census, the largest delegation is that of California, with fifty-three representatives. Seven states have only one representative: Alaska, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming; the House is charged with the passage of federal legislation, known as bills, after concurrence by the Senate, are sent to the President for consideration.
In addition to this basic power, the House has certain exclusive powers, among them the power to initiate all bills related to revenue. The House meets in the south wing of the United States Capitol; the presiding officer is the Speaker of the House, elected by the members thereof. The Speaker and other floor leaders are chosen by the Democratic Caucus or the Republican Conference, depending on whichever party has more voting members. Under the Articles of Confederation, the Congress of the Confederation was a unicameral body in which each state was represented, in which each state had a veto over most action. After eight years of a more limited confederal government under the Articles, numerous political leaders such as James Madison and Alexander Hamilton initiated the Constitutional Convention in 1787, which received the Confederation Congress's sanction to "amend the Articles of Confederation". All states except Rhode Island agreed to send delegates; the issue of how to structure Congress was one of the most divisive among the founders during the Convention.
Edmund Randolph's Virginia Plan called for a bicameral Congress: the lower house would be "of the people", elected directly by the people of the United States and representing public opinion, a more deliberative upper house, elected by the lower house, that would represent the individual states, would be less susceptible to variations of mass sentiment. The House is referred to as the lower house, with the Senate being the upper house, although the United States Constitution does not use that terminology. Both houses' approval is necessary for the passage of legislation; the Virginia Plan drew the support of delegates from large states such as Virginia and Pennsylvania, as it called for representation based on population. The smaller states, favored the New Jersey Plan, which called for a unicameral Congress with equal representation for the states; the Convention reached the Connecticut Compromise or Great Compromise, under which one house of Congress would provide representation proportional to each state's population, whereas the other would provide equal representation amongst the states.
The Constitution was ratified by the requisite number of states in 1788, but its implementation was set for March 4, 1789. The House began work on April 1789, when it achieved a quorum for the first time. During the first half of the 19th century, the House was in conflict with the Senate over regionally divisive issues, including slavery; the North was much more populous than the South, therefore dominated the House of Representatives. However, the North held no such advantage in the Senate, where the equal representation of states prevailed. Regional conflict was most pronounced over the issue of slavery. One example of a provision supported by the House but blocked by the Senate was the Wilmot Proviso, which sought to ban slavery in the land gained during the Mexican–American War. Conflict over slavery and other issues persisted until the Civil War, which began soon after several southern states attempted to secede from the Union; the war culminated in the abolition of slavery. All southern senators except Andrew Johnson resigned their seats at the beginning of the war, therefore the Senate did not hold the balance of power between North and South during the war.
The years of Reconstruction that followed witnessed large majorities for the Republican Party, which many Americans associated with the Union's victory in the Civil War and the ending of slavery. The Reconstruction period ended in about 1877; the Democratic Party and Republican Party each held majorities in the House at various times. The late 19th and early 20th centuries saw a dramatic increase in the power of the Speaker of the House; the rise of the Speaker's influence began in the 1890s, during the tenure of Republican Thomas Brackett Reed. "Czar Reed", as he was nicknamed, attempted to put into effect his view that "The best system is to have one party govern and the other party watch." The leadership structure of the House developed during the same period, with the positions of Majority Leader and Minority Leader being created in 1899. While the Minority Leader