Carpenters' Hall is a two-story brick building in the Old City neighborhood of Philadelphia, a key meeting place in the early history of the United States. Completed in 1775 and set back from Chestnut Street, the meeting hall was built for and is still owned by the Carpenters' Company of the City and County of Philadelphia, the country's oldest extant craft guild; the First Continental Congress met here. The building was designated a National Historic Landmark on 15 April 1970 and is part of Independence National Historical Park. Carpenters' Hall was designed by architect Robert Smith in the Georgian style based on both the town halls of Scotland, where Smith was born, the villas of Palladio in Italy, it would be first used as a meeting site by the guild on January 21, 1771, would continue to hold annual meetings there until 1777 when the British captured Philadelphia. On April 23, 1773, it was used for the founding meeting of the Society of Englishmen and Sons of Englishmen; the First Continental Congress of the United Colonies of North America met here from September 5 to October 26, 1774, since the Pennsylvania State House was being used by the moderate Provincial Assembly of Pennsylvania.
It was here that Congress resolved to ban further imports of slaves and to discontinue the slave trade within the colonies, a step toward phasing out slavery in British North America. The building has a long history as an assembly place and has been the home to numerous tenants in the arts and commerce; the meeting hall served as a hospital for both British and American troops in the Revolutionary War, other institutions in Philadelphia have held meetings in Carpenters' Hall, including Franklin's Library Company of Philadelphia, the American Philosophical Society, the First and Second Banks of the United States. The federal Custom House in Philadelphia was located at Carpenter's Hall between 1802 and 1819, save for a brief interruption between January and April, 1811, it was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1970. Numerous dignitaries have visited Carpenters' Hall, including United States Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger, King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden, President Václav Havel of the Czech Republic, President Guntis Ulmanis of Latvia, Texas Governor George W. Bush with Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge.
Today, Carpenters' Hall is free to the public, visited annually by more than 150,000 tourists from around the world. The structure still serves the purpose for which it was built: a meeting place for the Carpenters' Company and union meetings; the Carpenters Company was founded in 1724, but had no meeting house of their own, resorting to rented tavern rooms for their meetings. Carpenters Company members selected a new building site in 1768 on Chestnut Street, a few hundred feet from Benjamin Franklin's home. Robert Smith did not supervise the construction of the hall; the decision to proceed with construction was made January 30, 1770. Construction was completed in August 1774. Philadelphia portal Benjamin Loxley List of National Historic Landmarks in Philadelphia National Register of Historic Places listings in Center City, Philadelphia Notes Carpenters’ Hall visitors information and history Historic American Buildings Survey No. PA-1398, "Carpenters' Company Hall", 10 photos, 1 color transparency, 3 measured drawings, 11 data pages, 2 photo caption pages Historic American Buildings Survey No.
PA-1398-D, "Carpenters' Company, Rule Book", 39 photos, 1 photo caption page The Carpenters' Company of the City and County of Philadelphia published 1887
William Strickland (architect)
William Strickland, was a noted architect and civil engineer in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. A student of Benjamin Latrobe and mentor to Thomas Ustick Walter, Strickland helped establish the Greek Revival movement in the United States. A pioneering engineer, he wrote a seminal book on railroad construction, helped build several early American railroads, designed the first ocean breakwater in the Western Hemisphere. Strickland was born in the Navesink section of Middletown Township, New Jersey and moved with his family to Philadelphia as a child. In his youth, he was a landscape painter, illustrator for periodicals, theatrical scene painter and pioneer aquatintist, his Greek Revival designs drew much inspiration from the plates of The Antiquities of Athens. Strickland and Latrobe competed to design the Second Bank of the United States in Philadelphia, a competition that called for "chaste" Greek style. Strickland, still copying classical prototypes at this point, won with an ambitious design modeled on the iconic Parthenon of Athens.
Proud of the building, Strickland had it included in the background of his 1829 portrait by Philadelphia society painter John Neagle. The oldest building designed by W. Strickland, preserved to this day, is the Holy Trinity Romanian Orthodox Church, located at 222-230 Brown Street Philadelphia known as St. John's Episcopalian Church. An anonymous report from its consecration, published on September 21, 1816, in Relf’s Philadelphia Gazette and Daily Advertiser, describes the church as a “neat and elegant edifice” whose “design was given by Mr. William Strickland, of this city,” and whose “execution has done justice to the taste of the Architect.”. Strickland's evolving talent and confidence is seen in the Merchants' Exchange. In Philadelphia, the Merchant Exchange is built on classical example — for example, the cupola is based on the Choragic Monument of Lysicrates — but is a unique building styled to fit the site, it was to be located on a triangular plot at the intersection of two major thoroughfares between the waterfront and the business district.
The elegant, curved east façade faces the waterfront, reflects the carriage and foot traffic that would have been circulating in front of the building. This elevation is unique — Greek Revival, but modern — while a more staid and formal elevation can be found on the west side, facing Third Street. In the same year he designed the Merchants' Exchange, 1832, Strickland entered a project in the competition for Philadelphia's Girard College, which won the second prize. Strickland's 1836 National Mechanic Bank at 22 South 3rd Street, set on a narrow plot between two taller neighbors, has strong, square pilasters to support the portico and ornate stone carving at their tops to defend the building against its taller and bulkier neighbors. One of Strickland's last Philadelphia designs and among his smallest, the building is now occupied by National Mechanics Bar and Restaurant. Strickland executed works in other styles, including early American work in the Gothic Revival style, including his Masonic Hall and his Saint Stephen's Church, both in Philadelphia.
He made use of Egyptian and Italianate styles. He moved to Nashville, where his Egyptian-influenced design of the First Presbyterian Church was controversial but today is recognized as a masterpiece and an important evocation of the Egyptian Revival style. Strickland was a civil engineer and one of the first to advocate the use of steam locomotives on railways; some argue that Strickland's observations made during visits to England in the 1820s were influential in the transfer of railway technology to the United States: "William Strickland's Reports are the starting point of American railway engineering, represent the state of knowledge as the first railways were planned in that country." In 1835, the Wilmington and Susquehanna Railroad hired him to survey a route from Wilmington, Delaware, to Charlestown, Maryland. That year, he was named chief engineer of the Delaware and Maryland Railroad. Strickland designed and built the Delaware Breakwater, the first breakwater in the Americas and the third in the world.
Several architects and engineers of note began or developed their careers in Strickland's employ, including Thomas Ustick Walter, Gideon Shryock and John Trautwine. Strickland died in Nashville and is buried within the walls of his final, arguably greatest work, the Tennessee State Capitol. Masonic Hall, Philadelphia. Holy Trinity Romanian Orthodox Church, Philadelphia known as the former St. John's Episcopal Church. Second Bank of the United States, Philadelphia. St. Stephen's Philadelphia. Second Chestnut Street Theatre - 1822 - 1856 Musical Fund Hall, The Musical Fund Society, Philadelphia - 1824. Wyck House - 1824 Triumphal Arches for Lafayette's visit - 1824 Second Congregation Mikveh Israel Synagogue, Philadelphia - 1825. United States Naval Asylum, Philadelphia - 1826–33. Restoration of the tower of Independence Hall, Philadelphia - 1828. First Unitarian Church of Philadelphia, - 1828 University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia - 1829 Arch St. Theater - 1829 Second Philadelphia Mint, Philadelphia - 1829–33.
Blockley Almshouse - 1835 Merchants' Exchange, Philadelphia 1832–34. Mechanics National Bank - 1837 Immanuel Episcopal Church on the Green, N
The Reverend Jacob Duché was a Rector of Christ Church in Philadelphia and the first chaplain to the Continental Congress. Duché was born in Philadelphia in 1737, the son of Colonel Jacob Duché, Sr. mayor of Philadelphia and grandson of Anthony Duché, a French Huguenot. He was educated at the Philadelphia Academy and in the first class of the College of Philadelphia, where he worked as a tutor of Greek and Latin. After graduating as valedictorian in 1757, he studied at Cambridge University before being ordained an Anglican clergyman by the Bishop of London and returning to the colonies. In 1759 he married Elizabeth Hopkinson, sister of Francis Hopkinson, a signer of the Declaration of Independence. Duché first came to the attention of the First Continental Congress in September 1774, when he was summoned to Carpenters' Hall to lead the opening prayers. Opening the session on the 7th of that month, he read the 35th Psalm, broke into extemporaneous prayer. O Lord our Heavenly Father and mighty King of kings, Lord of lords, who dost from thy throne behold all the dwellers on earth and reignest with power supreme and uncontrolled over all the Kingdoms and Governments.
Be Thou present, O God of wisdom, direct the councils of this honorable assembly. That the scene of blood may be speedily closed. Preserve the health of their bodies and vigor of their minds. All this we ask through the merits of Jesus Christ, Thy Son and our Savior. Amen; the prayer had a profound effect on the delegates. On July 4, 1776, when the United States Declaration of Independence was ratified, Duché, meeting with the church's vestry, passed a resolution stating that the name of King George III of Great Britain was no longer to be read in the prayers of the church. Duché complied, crossing out said prayers from his Book of Common Prayer, committing an act of treason against England, an extraordinary and dangerous act for a clergyman who had taken an oath of loyalty to the King. On July 9, Congress elected him its first official chaplain; when the British occupied Philadelphia in September 1777, Duché was arrested by General William Howe and detained, underlining the seriousness of his actions.
He was released, emerged as a Loyalist and propagandist for the British, at which time he wrote a famous letter to General George Washington, camped at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, in which he begged him to lay down arms and negotiate for peace with the British. Duché went from hero of the Revolutionary cause to outcast in the new United States, he was convicted of high treason to the State of Pennsylvania, his estate was confiscated. In consequence, Duché fled to England, where he was appointed chaplain to the Lambeth orphan asylum, soon made a reputation as an eloquent preacher, he was not able to return to America until 1792. On October 1, 1777, Congress appointed joint chaplains, William White, Duché's successor at Christ Church, George Duffield, pastor of the Third Presbyterian Church of Philadelphia. Duché died in 1798 in Philadelphia, his daughter, Elizabeth Sophia Duché, married Captain John Henry in 1799. Henry was an Army officer and political adventurer, indirectly instrumental in the declaration of war on Great Britain by the United States in 1812.
Davis, Burke. George Washington and the American Revolution. Random House, New York. Johnson, William J. George Washington The Christian. Abington Press, New York, Cincinnati. Dellape, Kevin J. America's First Chaplain: The Life and Times of the Reverend jacob Duché. Bethlehem, PA: Lehigh University Press, 2013. McBride, Spencer W. Pulpit and Nation: Clergymen and the Politics of Revolutionary America. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2016. Gough, Deborah. Christ Church, Philadelphia. 1. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania, 1995. Simpson, The Lives of Eminent Philadelphians, Now Deceased. Philadelphia: William Brotherhead, 1859. Biography and portrait at the University of Pennsylvania Duché's letter to George Washington Jacob Duché at Find a Grave
William Penn was the son of Sir William Penn, was an English nobleman, early Quaker, founder of the English North American colony the Province of Pennsylvania. He was an early advocate of democracy and religious freedom, notable for his good relations and successful treaties with the Lenape Native Americans. Under his direction, the city of Philadelphia was developed. In 1681, King Charles II handed over a large piece of his American land holdings to Penn to pay the debts the king owed to Penn's father; this land included present-day Delaware. Penn set sail and took his first step on American soil in New Castle in 1682 after his trans-Atlantic journey. On this occasion, the colonists pledged allegiance to Penn as their new proprietor, the first general assembly was held in the colony. Afterward, Penn founded Philadelphia. However, Penn's Quaker government was not viewed favorably by the Dutch and English settlers in what is now Delaware, they had no "historical" allegiance to Pennsylvania, so they immediately began petitioning for their own assembly.
In 1704 they achieved their goal when the three southernmost counties of Pennsylvania were permitted to split off and become the new semi-autonomous colony of Lower Delaware. As the most prominent and influential "city" in the new colony, New Castle became the capital; as one of the earlier supporters of colonial unification, Penn wrote and urged for a union of all the English colonies in what was to become the United States of America. The democratic principles that he set forth in the Pennsylvania Frame of Government served as an inspiration for the United States Constitution; as a pacifist Quaker, Penn considered the problems of peace deeply. He developed a forward-looking project for a United States of Europe through the creation of a European Assembly made of deputies who could discuss and adjudicate controversies peacefully, he is therefore considered the first thinker to suggest the creation of a European Parliament. A man of deep religious convictions, Penn wrote numerous works in which he exhorted believers to adhere to the spirit of Primitive Christianity.
He was imprisoned several times in the Tower of London due to his faith, his book No Cross, No Crown, which he wrote while in prison, has become a Christian classic. William Penn was born in 1644 at Tower Hill, the son of English Admiral Sir William Penn, Margaret Jasper, from a Dutch family the widow of a Dutch captain, the daughter of a rich merchant from Rotterdam. William Penn, Sr. served in the Commonwealth Navy during the English Civil War and was rewarded by Oliver Cromwell with estates in Ireland. The lands were seized from Irish Catholics in retaliation for the failed Irish Rebellion of 1641. Admiral Penn took part in the restoration of Charles II and was knighted and served in the Royal Navy. At the time of his son's birth, Captain Penn was twenty-three and an ambitious naval officer in charge of quelling Irish Catholic unrest and blockading Irish ports. William Penn grew up during the rule of Oliver Cromwell, who succeeded in leading a Puritan rebellion against King Charles I. Penn's father was at sea.
Little William caught smallpox at a young age, losing all his hair, prompting his parents to move from the suburbs to an estate in Essex. The country life made a lasting impression on young Penn, kindled in him a love of horticulture, their neighbor was famed diarist Samuel Pepys, friendly at first but secretly hostile to the Admiral embittered in part by his failed seductions of both Penn's mother and his sister Peggy. Penn was educated first at Chigwell School, by private tutors whilst in Ireland, at Christ Church, Oxford. At that time, there were no state schools and nearly all educational institutions were affiliated with the Anglican Church. Children from poor families had to have a wealthy sponsor to get an education. Penn's education leaned on the classical authors and "no novelties or conceited modern writers" were allowed including William Shakespeare. Foot racing was Penn's favorite sport, he would run the more than three-mile distance from his home to the school; the school itself was cast in an Anglican mode – strict and somber – and teachers had to be pillars of virtue and provide sterling examples to their charges.
Though opposing Anglicanism on religious grounds, Penn absorbed many Puritan behaviors, was known for his serious demeanor, strict behavior and lack of humor. After a failed mission to the Caribbean, Admiral Penn and his family were exiled to his lands in Ireland, it was during this period, when Penn was about fifteen, that he met Thomas Loe, a Quaker missionary, maligned by both Catholics and Protestants. Loe was admitted to the Penn household and during his discourses on the "Inner Light", young Penn recalled that "the Lord visited me and gave me divine Impressions of Himself."A year Cromwell was dead, the royalists resurging, the Penn family returned to England. The middle class aligned itself with the royalists and Admiral Penn was sent on a secret mission to bring back exiled Prince Charles. For his role in restoring the monarchy, Admiral Penn was knighted and gained a powerful position as Commissioner of the Navy. In 1660, Penn enrolled as a gentleman scholar with an assigned servant; the student body was a volatile mix of swashbuckling Cavaliers, sober Puritans, nonconforming Quakers.
The new government's discouragement of religious dissent gave the Cavalier
Delaware is one of the 50 states of the United States, in the South-Atlantic or Southern region. It is bordered to the south and west by Maryland, north by Pennsylvania, east by New Jersey and the Atlantic Ocean; the state takes its name from Thomas West, 3rd Baron De La Warr, an English nobleman and Virginia's first colonial governor. Delaware occupies the northeastern portion of the Delmarva Peninsula. It's the sixth most densely populated. Delaware's largest city is Wilmington; the state is divided into the lowest number of any state. From north to south, they are New Castle County, Kent County, Sussex County. While the southern two counties have been predominantly agricultural, New Castle County is more industrialized. Before its coastline was explored by Europeans in the 16th century, Delaware was inhabited by several groups of Native Americans, including the Lenape in the north and Nanticoke in the south, it was colonized by Dutch traders at Zwaanendael, near the present town of Lewes, in 1631.
Delaware was one of the 13 colonies participating in the American Revolution. On December 7, 1787, Delaware became the first state to ratify the Constitution of the United States, has since been known as "The First State"; the state was named after the Delaware River, which in turn derived its name from Thomas West, 3rd Baron De La Warr, the ruling governor of the Colony of Virginia at the time Europeans first explored the river. The Delaware Indians, a name used by Europeans for Lenape people indigenous to the Delaware Valley derive their name from the same source; the surname de La Warr is of Anglo-Norman origin. It came from a Norman lieu-dit La Guerre; this toponymic could derive from the Latin word ager, from the Breton gwern or from the Late Latin varectum. The toponyms Gara, Gaire appear in old texts cited by Lucien Musset, where the word gara means gore, it could be linked with a patronymic from the Old Norse verr. Delaware is 96 miles long and ranges from 9 miles to 35 miles across, totaling 1,954 square miles, making it the second-smallest state in the United States after Rhode Island.
Delaware is bounded to the north by Pennsylvania. Small portions of Delaware are situated on the eastern side of the Delaware River sharing land boundaries with New Jersey; the state of Delaware, together with the Eastern Shore counties of Maryland and two counties of Virginia, form the Delmarva Peninsula, which stretches down the Mid-Atlantic Coast. The definition of the northern boundary of the state is unusual. Most of the boundary between Delaware and Pennsylvania was defined by an arc extending 12 miles from the cupola of the courthouse in the city of New Castle; this boundary is referred to as the Twelve-Mile Circle. Although the Twelve-Mile Circle is claimed to be the only territorial boundary in the United States, a true arc, the Mexican boundary with Texas includes several arcs, many cities in the South have circular boundaries; this border extends all the way east to the low-tide mark on the New Jersey shore continues south along the shoreline until it again reaches the 12-mile arc in the south.
To the west, a portion of the arc extends past the easternmost edge of Maryland. The remaining western border runs east of due south from its intersection with the arc; the Wedge of land between the northwest part of the arc and the Maryland border was claimed by both Delaware and Pennsylvania until 1921, when Delaware's claim was confirmed. Delaware is with the lowest mean elevation of any state in the nation, its highest elevation, located at Ebright Azimuth, near Concord High School, is less than 450 feet above sea level. The northernmost part of the state is part of the Piedmont Plateau with rolling surfaces; the Atlantic Seaboard fall line follows the Robert Kirkwood Highway between Newark and Wilmington. A ridge about 75 to 80 feet in elevation extends along the western boundary of the state and separates the watersheds that feed Delaware River and Bay to the east and the Chesapeake Bay to the west. Since all of Delaware is a part of the Atlantic coastal plain, the effects of the ocean moderate its climate.
The state lies in the humid subtropical climate zone. Despite its small size, there is significant variation in mean temperature and amount of snowfall between Sussex County and New Castle County. Moderated by the Atlantic Ocean and Delaware Bay, the southern portion of the state has a milder climate and a longer growing season than the northern portion of the state. Delaware's all-time record high of 110 °F was recorded at Millsboro on July 21, 1930; the all-time record low of −17 °F was recorded at Millsboro on January 17, 1893. The transitional climate of Delaware supports a wide variety of vegetation. In the northern third of the state are found Northeastern coastal forests and mixed oak forests typical of the northeastern United States. In the southern two-thirds of the state are found Middle Atlantic coastal forests. Trap Pond State Park, along with areas in other parts of Sussex County, for example, support
Pennsylvania the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, is a state located in the northeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. The Appalachian Mountains run through its middle; the Commonwealth is bordered by Delaware to the southeast, Maryland to the south, West Virginia to the southwest, Ohio to the west, Lake Erie and the Canadian province of Ontario to the northwest, New York to the north, New Jersey to the east. Pennsylvania is the 33rd-largest state by area, the 6th-most populous state according to the most recent official U. S. Census count in 2010, it is the 9th-most densely populated of the 50 states. Pennsylvania's two most populous cities are Philadelphia, Pittsburgh; the state capital and its 10th largest city is Harrisburg. Pennsylvania has 140 miles of waterfront along the Delaware Estuary; the state is one of the 13 original founding states of the United States. Part of Pennsylvania, together with the present State of Delaware, had earlier been organized as the Colony of New Sweden.
It was the second state to ratify the United States Constitution, on December 12, 1787. Independence Hall, where the United States Declaration of Independence and United States Constitution were drafted, is located in the state's largest city of Philadelphia. During the American Civil War, the Battle of Gettysburg was fought in the south central region of the state. Valley Forge near Philadelphia was General Washington's headquarters during the bitter winter of 1777–78. Pennsylvania is 170 miles north to south and 283 miles east to west. Of a total 46,055 square miles, 44,817 square miles are land, 490 square miles are inland waters, 749 square miles are waters in Lake Erie, it is the 33rd-largest state in the United States. Pennsylvania has 51 miles of coastline along Lake Erie and 57 miles of shoreline along the Delaware Estuary. Of the original Thirteen Colonies, Pennsylvania is the only state that does not border the Atlantic Ocean; the boundaries of the state are the Mason–Dixon line to the south, the Twelve-Mile Circle on the Pennsylvania-Delaware border, the Delaware River to the east, 80° 31' W to the west and the 42° N to the north, with the exception of a short segment on the western end, where a triangle extends north to Lake Erie.
Cities include Philadelphia, Reading and Lancaster in the southeast, Pittsburgh in the southwest, the tri-cities of Allentown and Easton in the central east. The northeast includes the former anthracite coal mining cities of Scranton, Wilkes-Barre and Hazleton. Erie is located in the northwest. State College serves the central region while Williamsport serves the commonwealth's north-central region as does Chambersburg the south-central region, with York and the state capital Harrisburg on the Susquehanna River in the east-central region of the Commonwealth and Altoona and Johnstown in the west-central region; the state has five geographical regions, namely the Allegheny Plateau and Valley, Atlantic Coastal Plain and the Erie Plain. New York Ontario Maryland Delaware West Virginia New Jersey Ohio Pennsylvania's diverse topography produces a variety of climates, though the entire state experiences cold winters and humid summers. Straddling two major zones, the majority of the state, with the exception of the southeastern corner, has a humid continental climate.
The southern portion of the state has a humid subtropical climate. The largest city, has some characteristics of the humid subtropical climate that covers much of Delaware and Maryland to the south. Summers are hot and humid. Moving toward the mountainous interior of the state, the winter climate becomes colder, the number of cloudy days increases, snowfall amounts are greater. Western areas of the state locations near Lake Erie, can receive over 100 inches of snowfall annually, the entire state receives plentiful precipitation throughout the year; the state may be subject to severe weather from spring through summer into fall. Tornadoes occur annually in the state, sometimes in large numbers, such as 30 recorded tornadoes in 2011; as of 1600, the tribes living in Pennsylvania were the Algonquian Lenape, the Iroquoian Susquehannock & Petun and the Siouan Monongahela Culture, who may have been the same as a little known tribe called the Calicua, or Cali. Other tribes who entered the region during the colonial era were the Trockwae, Saponi, Nanticoke, Conoy Piscataway, Iroquois Confederacy—possibly among others.
Other tribes, like the Erie, may have once held some land in Pennsylvania, but no longer did so by the year 1600. Both the Dutch and the English claimed both sides of the Delaware River as part of their colonial lands in America; the Dutch were the first to take possession. By June 3, 1631, the Dutch had begun settling the Delmarva Peninsula by establishing the Zwaanendael Colony on the site of present-day Lewes, Delaware. In 1638, Sweden established the New Sweden Colony, in the region of Fort Christina, on the site of present-day Wilmington, Delaware. New Sweden claimed and, for the most part, controlled the lower Delaware River region (parts of present-day Delaware, New Jersey, Pe
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper chamber of the United States Congress, which along with the United States House of Representatives—the lower chamber—comprises the legislature of the United States. The Senate chamber is located in the north wing of the Capitol, in Washington, D. C; the composition and powers of the Senate are established by Article One of the United States Constitution. The Senate is composed of senators; each state, regardless of its population size, is represented by two senators who serve staggered terms of six years. There being at present 50 states in the Union, there are presently 100 senators. From 1789 until 1913, senators were appointed by legislatures of the states; as the upper chamber of Congress, the Senate has several powers of advice and consent which are unique to it. These include the approval of treaties, the confirmation of Cabinet secretaries, Supreme Court justices, federal judges, flag officers, regulatory officials, other federal executive officials and other federal uniformed officers.
In addition to these, in cases wherein no candidate receives a majority of electors for Vice President, the duty falls to the Senate to elect one of the top two recipients of electors for that office. Furthermore, the Senate has the responsibility of conducting the trials of those impeached by the House; the Senate is considered both a more deliberative and more prestigious body than the House of Representatives due to its longer terms, smaller size, statewide constituencies, which led to a more collegial and less partisan atmosphere. The presiding officer of the Senate is the Vice President of the United States, President of the Senate. In the Vice President's absence, the President Pro Tempore, customarily the senior member of the party holding a majority of seats, presides over the Senate. In the early 20th century, the practice of majority and minority parties electing their floor leaders began, although they are not constitutional officers; the drafters of the Constitution created a bicameral Congress as a compromise between those who felt that each state, since it was sovereign, should be represented, those who felt the legislature must directly represent the people, as the House of Commons did in Great Britain.
This idea of having one chamber represent people while the other gives equal representation to states regardless of population, was known as the Connecticut Compromise. There was a desire to have two Houses that could act as an internal check on each other. One was intended to be a "People's House" directly elected by the people, with short terms obliging the representatives to remain close to their constituents; the other was intended to represent the states to such extent as they retained their sovereignty except for the powers expressly delegated to the national government. The Senate was thus not designed to serve the people of the United States equally; the Constitution provides that the approval of both chambers is necessary for the passage of legislation. First convened in 1789, the Senate of the United States was formed on the example of the ancient Roman Senate; the name is derived from Latin for council of elders. James Madison made the following comment about the Senate: In England, at this day, if elections were open to all classes of people, the property of landed proprietors would be insecure.
An agrarian law would soon take place. If these observations be just, our government ought to secure the permanent interests of the country against innovation. Landholders ought to have a share in the government, to support these invaluable interests, to balance and check the other, they ought to be so constituted. The Senate, ought to be this body. Article Five of the Constitution stipulates that no constitutional amendment may be created to deprive a state of its equal suffrage in the Senate without that state's consent; the District of Columbia and all other territories are not entitled to representation allowed to vote in either House of the Congress. The District of Columbia elects two "shadow U. S. Senators", but they are officials of the D. C. City Government and not members of the U. S. Senate; the United States has had 50 states since 1959, thus the Senate has had 100 senators since 1959. The disparity between the most and least populous states has grown since the Connecticut Compromise, which granted each state two members of the Senate and at least one member of the House of Representatives, for a total minimum of three presidential electors, regardless of population.
In 1787, Virginia had ten times the population of Rhode Island, whereas today California has 70 times the population of Wyoming, based on the 1790 and 2000 censuses. This means some citizens are two orders of magnitude better represented in the Senate than those in other states. Seats in the House of Representatives are proportionate to the population of each state, reducing the disparity of representation. Before the adoption of the Seventeenth Amendment in 1913, senators were elected by the individual state legislatures. Problems with repeated vacant seats due to the inability of a legislature to elect senators, intrastate political struggles, bribery and intimidation had led to a growing movement to amend the Constitution to allow for the direct election of senators; the party composition of the Senate during the 116th Congress: Art