National Register of Historic Places
The National Register of Historic Places is the United States federal government's official list of districts, buildings and objects deemed worthy of preservation for their historical significance. A property listed in the National Register, or located within a National Register Historic District, may qualify for tax incentives derived from the total value of expenses incurred preserving the property; the passage of the National Historic Preservation Act in 1966 established the National Register and the process for adding properties to it. Of the more than one million properties on the National Register, 80,000 are listed individually; the remainder are contributing resources within historic districts. For most of its history the National Register has been administered by the National Park Service, an agency within the United States Department of the Interior, its goals are to help property owners and interest groups, such as the National Trust for Historic Preservation, coordinate and protect historic sites in the United States.
While National Register listings are symbolic, their recognition of significance provides some financial incentive to owners of listed properties. Protection of the property is not guaranteed. During the nomination process, the property is evaluated in terms of the four criteria for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places; the application of those criteria has been the subject of criticism by academics of history and preservation, as well as the public and politicians. Historic sites outside the country proper, but associated with the United States are listed. Properties can be nominated in a variety of forms, including individual properties, historic districts, multiple property submissions; the Register categorizes general listings into one of five types of properties: district, structure, building, or object. National Register Historic Districts are defined geographical areas consisting of contributing and non-contributing properties; some properties are added automatically to the National Register when they become administered by the National Park Service.
These include National Historic Landmarks, National Historic Sites, National Historical Parks, National Military Parks, National Memorials, some National Monuments. On October 15, 1966, the Historic Preservation Act created the National Register of Historic Places and the corresponding State Historic Preservation Offices; the National Register consisted of the National Historic Landmarks designated before the Register's creation, as well as any other historic sites in the National Park system. Approval of the act, amended in 1980 and 1992, represented the first time the United States had a broad-based historic preservation policy; the 1966 act required those agencies to work in conjunction with the SHPO and an independent federal agency, the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, to confront adverse effects of federal activities on historic preservation. To administer the newly created National Register of Historic Places, the National Park Service of the U. S. Department of the Interior, with director George B.
Hartzog Jr. established an administrative division named the Office of Archeology and Historic Preservation. Hartzog charged OAHP with creating the National Register program mandated by the 1966 law. Ernest Connally was the Office's first director. Within OAHP new divisions were created to deal with the National Register; the division administered several existing programs, including the Historic Sites Survey and the Historic American Buildings Survey, as well as the new National Register and Historic Preservation Fund. The first official Keeper of the Register was an architectural historian. During the Register's earliest years in the late 1960s and early 1970s, organization was lax and SHPOs were small and underfunded. However, funds were still being supplied for the Historic Preservation Fund to provide matching grants-in-aid to listed property owners, first for house museums and institutional buildings, but for commercial structures as well. A few years in 1979, the NPS history programs affiliated with both the U.
S. National Parks system and the National Register were categorized formally into two "Assistant Directorates." Established were the Assistant Directorate for Archeology and Historic Preservation and the Assistant Directorate for Park Historic Preservation. From 1978 until 1981, the main agency for the National Register was the Heritage Conservation and Recreation Service of the United States Department of the Interior. In February 1983, the two assistant directorates were merged to promote efficiency and recognize the interdependency of their programs. Jerry L. Rogers was selected to direct this newly merged associate directorate, he was described as a skilled administrator, sensitive to the need for the NPS to work with SHPOs, local governments. Although not described in detail in the 1966 act, SHPOs became integral to the process of listing properties on the National Register; the 1980 amendments of the 1966 law further defined the responsibilities of SHPOs concerning the National Register.
Several 1992 amendments of the NHPA added a category to the National Register, known as Traditional Cultural Properties: those properties associated with Native American or Hawaiian groups
Historic districts in the United States
Historic districts in the United States are designated historic districts recognizing a group of buildings, properties, or sites by one of several entities on different levels as or architecturally significant. Buildings, structures and sites within a historic district are divided into two categories and non-contributing. Districts vary in size: some have hundreds of structures, while others have just a few; the U. S. federal government designates historic districts through the United States Department of Interior under the auspices of the National Park Service. Federally designated historic districts are listed on the National Register of Historic Places, but listing imposes no restrictions on what property owners may do with a designated property. State-level historic districts may follow similar criteria or may require adherence to certain historic rehabilitation standards. Local historic district designation offers, by far, the most legal protection for historic properties because most land use decisions are made at the local level.
Local districts are administered by the county or municipal government. The first U. S. historic district was established in Charleston, South Carolina in 1931, predating the U. S. federal government designation by more than three decades. Charleston city government designated an "Old and Historic District" by local ordinance and created a board of architectural review to oversee it. New Orleans followed in 1937, establishing the Vieux Carré Commission and authorizing it to act to maintain the historic character of the city's French Quarter. Other localities picked up on the concept, with the city of Philadelphia enacting its historic preservation ordinance in 1955; the regulatory authority of local commissions and historic districts has been upheld as a legitimate use of government police power, most notably in Penn Central Transportation Co. v. City of New York; the Supreme Court case validated the protection of historic resources as "an permissible governmental goal." In 1966 the federal government created the National Register of Historic Places, soon after a report from the U.
S. Conference of Mayors had stated Americans suffered from "rootlessness." By the 1980s there were thousands of federally designated historic districts. Some states, such as Arizona, have passed referendums defending property rights that have stopped private property being designated historic without the property owner's consent or compensation for the historic overlay. Historic districts are two types of properties and non-contributing. Broadly defined, a contributing property is any property, structure or object which adds to the historical integrity or architectural qualities that make a historic district, listed locally or federally, significant. Different entities governmental, at both the state and national level in the United States, have differing definitions of contributing property but they all retain the same basic characteristics. In general, contributing properties are integral parts of the historic context and character of a historic district. In addition to the two types of classification within historic districts, properties listed on the National Register of Historic Places are classified into five broad categories.
They are, structure, site and object. All but the eponymous district category are applied to historic districts listed on the National Register. A listing on the National Register of Historic Places is governmental acknowledgment of a historic district. However, the Register is "an honorary status with some federal financial incentives." The National Register of Historic Places defines a historic district per U. S. federal law, last revised in 2004. According to the Register definition a historic district is: a geographically definable area, urban or rural, possessing a significant concentration, linkage, or continuity of sites, structures, or objects united by past events or aesthetically by plan or physical development. A district may comprise individual elements separated geographically but linked by association or history. Districts established under U. S. federal guidelines begin the process of designation through a nomination to the National Register of Historic Places. The National Register is the official recognition by the U.
S. government of cultural resources worthy of preservation. While designation through the National Register does offer a district or property some protections, it is only in cases where the threatening action involves the federal government. If the federal government is not involved the listing on the National Register provides the site, property or district no protections. For example, if company A wants to tear down the hypothetical Smith House and company A is under contract with the state government of Illinois the federal designation would offer no protections. If, company A was under federal contract the Smith House would be protected. A federal designation is little more than recognition by the government that the resource is worthy of preservation. In general, the criteria for acceptance to the National Register are applied but there are considerations for exceptions to the criteria and historic districts have influence on some of those exceptions; the National Register does not list religious structures, moved structures, reconstructed structures, or properties that have achieved significance within the last 50 years.
However, if a property falls into one of those categories and are "integral parts of districts that do meet the criteria" an exception allowing their listing will be made. Historic dis
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
A dam is a barrier that stops or restricts the flow of water or underground streams. Reservoirs created by dams not only suppress floods but provide water for activities such as irrigation, human consumption, industrial use and navigability. Hydropower is used in conjunction with dams to generate electricity. A dam can be used to collect water or for storage of water which can be evenly distributed between locations. Dams serve the primary purpose of retaining water, while other structures such as floodgates or levees are used to manage or prevent water flow into specific land regions; the earliest known dam is the Jawa Dam in Jordan, dating to 3,000 BC. The word dam can be traced back to Middle English, before that, from Middle Dutch, as seen in the names of many old cities; the first known appearance of dam occurs in 1165. However, there is one village, mentioned in 1120; the word seems to be related to the Greek word taphos, meaning "grave" or "grave hill". So the word should be understood as "dike from dug out earth".
The names of more than 40 places from the Middle Dutch era such as Amsterdam and Rotterdam bear testimony to the use of the word in Middle Dutch at that time. Early dam building took place in the Middle East. Dams were used to control the water level, for Mesopotamia's weather affected the Tigris and Euphrates rivers; the earliest known dam is the Jawa Dam in Jordan, 100 kilometres northeast of the capital Amman. This gravity dam featured an 9-metre-high and 1 m-wide stone wall, supported by a 50 m-wide earth rampart; the structure is dated to 3000 BC. The Ancient Egyptian Sadd-el-Kafara Dam at Wadi Al-Garawi, located about 25 km south of Cairo, was 102 m long at its base and 87 m wide; the structure was built around 2800 or 2600 BC as a diversion dam for flood control, but was destroyed by heavy rain during construction or shortly afterwards. During the Twelfth Dynasty in the 19th century BC, the Pharaohs Senosert III, Amenemhat III and Amenemhat IV dug a canal 16 km long linking the Fayum Depression to the Nile in Middle Egypt.
Two dams called Ha-Uar running east-west were built to retain water during the annual flood and release it to surrounding lands. The lake called "Mer-wer" or Lake Moeris is known today as Birket Qarun. By the mid-late third millennium BC, an intricate water-management system within Dholavira in modern-day India was built; the system included 16 reservoirs and various channels for collecting water and storing it. One of the engineering wonders of the ancient world was the Great Dam of Marib in Yemen. Initiated somewhere between 1750 and 1700 BC, it was made of packed earth – triangular in cross section, 580 m in length and 4 m high – running between two groups of rocks on either side, to which it was linked by substantial stonework. Repairs were carried out during various periods, most important around 750 BC, 250 years the dam height was increased to 7 m. After the end of the Kingdom of Saba, the dam fell under the control of the Ḥimyarites who undertook further improvements, creating a structure 14 m high, with five spillway channels, two masonry-reinforced sluices, a settling pond, a 1,000 m canal to a distribution tank.
These extensive works were not finalized until 325 AD and allowed the irrigation of 25,000 acres. Eflatun Pınar is a Hittite spring temple near Konya, Turkey, it is thought to be from the time of the Hittite empire between the 15th and 13th century BC. The Kallanai is constructed of unhewn stone, over 300 m long, 4.5 m high and 20 m wide, across the main stream of the Kaveri river in Tamil Nadu, South India. The basic structure dates to the 2nd century AD and is considered one of the oldest water-diversion or water-regulator structures in the world, still in use; the purpose of the dam was to divert the waters of the Kaveri across the fertile delta region for irrigation via canals. Du Jiang Yan is the oldest surviving irrigation system in China that included a dam that directed waterflow, it was finished in 251 BC. A large earthen dam, made by Sunshu Ao, the prime minister of Chu, flooded a valley in modern-day northern Anhui province that created an enormous irrigation reservoir, a reservoir, still present today.
Roman dam construction was characterized by "the Romans' ability to plan and organize engineering construction on a grand scale." Roman planners introduced the then-novel concept of large reservoir dams which could secure a permanent water supply for urban settlements over the dry season. Their pioneering use of water-proof hydraulic mortar and Roman concrete allowed for much larger dam structures than built, such as the Lake Homs Dam the largest water barrier to that date, the Harbaqa Dam, both in Roman Syria; the highest Roman dam was the Subiaco Dam near Rome. Roman engineers made routine use of ancient standard designs like embankment dams and masonry gravity dams. Apart from that, they displayed a high degree of inventiveness, introducing most of the other basic dam designs, unknown until then; these include arch-gravity dams, arch dams, buttress dams and multiple arch buttress dams, all of which were known and employed by the 2nd century AD. Roman workforces were the first to build dam bridges, such as the Bridge of Valerian in Iran
John Randel Jr.
John Randel, Jr. was an American surveyor, civil engineer and inventor from Albany, New York who completed a full survey of Manhattan Island from 1808–1817, in service of the creation of the Commissioners' Plan of 1811, which determined that New York City – which consisted at the time of only Manhattan – would in the future be laid out in a rectilinear grid of streets. Randel is noted for having received one of the largest awards at the time as a result of his breach of contract lawsuit against the Chesapeake & Delaware Canal Company; the company's appeals of the judgment went to the United States Supreme Court, which affirmed the award, as well as Randel's right to directly receive canal tolls in order to collect it. Randel was born in New York on December 3, 1787 to a large and close family, his father, John Sr. was a second generation Scotch-Irish American, a jeweler and brass founder, while his mother Catherine was born in New Jersey to a land-rich family. John Sr. served in the American Revolutionary War as a private, married Catherine in 1780, a year after he was released from his regiment for the injuries he had sustained.
John Jr.'s formal education encompassed only primary school, where he learned to respect the ideas and ideals of the Enlightenment. As a young man, Randel would be committed to reason, but was a religious man, for instance with Thomas Paine's views about religion expressed in The Age of Reason. Raised in a tight-knit Presbyterian community, Randel attended church and held the Sabbath as a day of rest. While working in Manhattan, Randel sometimes crossed the Hudson River by ferry to attend the First Presbyterian Church in Orange, New Jersey, where relatives of his mother were elders, it was on these visits that he met the woman who became his first wife, his cousin, Matilda Harrison, whom he married in 1813. After his formal education ended, Randel was apprenticed as early as age 12 although more at 16, to Simeon De Witt, the Surveyor General of New York State. De Witt was familiar with Randel, as both families were from Albany, a city of only 7,500 at the time, Randel's father had served with De Witt's brother in the American Revolution.
It was a time in American history when many young men went into surveying, at least for a short time, as there was a great need for them as the empty places – empty of whites, anyway – began to become settled. When Randel finished his apprenticeship and became an assistant surveyor, he interpreted the field reports of other surveyors to draft maps based on them of land in the Adirondack Mountains and on the Oneida Reservation, mapped the Albany Turnpike between Albany and Schenectady and the Great Western Turnpike from Albany to Cooperstown, surveyed property lots in Albany and in Central New York Oneida County Despite his meager experience, through a recommendation by De Witt, one of three commissioners charged with developing a plan for the future layout of New York City's streets, approval by Gouvernor Morris, one of the other commissioners and the unofficial president of the commission, Randel, at age 20, was hired to replace the commission's original chief surveyor, Charles Frederick Loss, who had proved to be incompetent.
Marguerite Holloway, Randel's biographer, divides his work in New York into three periods. The first, from 1808 to 1810, resulted in the 1811 publication of the Commissioners' Plan. Phase two ran from 1811 to 1817, during which he completed the necessary geodetic surveying and inscribed the grid into the land; the final phase was from around 1818 to 1821, when Randel and his first wife Matilda became high quality cartographers, makers of maps. Randel began work in June 1808, was ordered to conduct a detailed survey of Manhattan island to help produce the plan of New York City's future streets; the final map, the Commissioners' Plan of 1811 laid out the streets of New York from 14th Street to 155th Street into a rectangular grid, without accommodating the island's terrain. After the publication of the Commissioners' Plan, at the instigation of the commission, Randel was retained by the Common Council of New York for the next 6 years continue the surveying necessary to lay down actual streets, as the Commissioners' Plan was more notional than practical.
To do this work, Randel was given an allocation of $1,000 for surveying instruments, but he spent his own money – between $2,400 and $3,000 – developing seven surveying instruments which, among other benefits, would not vary in size because of temperature changes, resulting in great precision. An expert in Colonial era surveying equipment has expressed the opinion, after examining images of Randel's new instruments – the pamphlet that explained them has been lost – that Randel was "Basically... a mechanical genuius." Commissioner Simeon De Witt said of Randel's work that it was made "with an accuracy not exceeded by any work of the kind in America."To inscribe the grid onto the land and his staff erected 1,600 markers – three-foot long, nine-inch square marble monuments inscribed with the number of the street, placed at each intersection. Where rocks prevented the use of the marble markers, they blasted holes with gunpowder, poured in lead, anchored six-inch long, one-inch square iron bolts.
In all, they positioned 98 iron bolts to define the pattern of the grid. As part of
Trenton, New Jersey
Trenton is the capital city of the U. S. state of New Jersey and the county seat of Mercer County. It served as the capital of the United States in 1784; the city's metropolitan area is grouped with the New York metropolitan area by the United States Census Bureau, but it directly borders the Philadelphia metropolitan area and is part of the Philadelphia Combined Statistical Area and the Federal Communications Commission's Philadelphia Designated Market Area. As of the 2010 United States Census, Trenton had a population of 84,913, making it the state's tenth most populous municipality; the Census Bureau estimated that the city's population was 84,034 in 2014. Trenton dates back at least to June 3, 1719, when mention was made of a constable being appointed for Trenton while the area was still part of Hunterdon County. Boundaries were recorded for Trenton Township as of March 2, 1720. A courthouse and jail were constructed in Trenton around 1720, the Freeholders of Hunterdon County met annually in Trenton.
Trenton became New Jersey's capital as of November 25, 1790, the City of Trenton was formed within Trenton Township on November 13, 1792. Trenton Township was incorporated as one of New Jersey's initial groups of 104 townships by an act of the New Jersey Legislature on February 21, 1798. On February 22, 1834, portions of Trenton Township were taken to form Ewing Township; the remaining portion of Trenton Township was absorbed by the City of Trenton on April 10, 1837. A series of annexations took place over a 50-year period, with the city absorbing South Trenton borough, portions of Nottingham Township, both the Borough of Chambersburg Township, Millham Township, as well as Wilbur Borough. Portions of Ewing Township and Hamilton Township were annexed to Trenton on March 23, 1900; the first settlement which would become Trenton was established by Quakers in 1679, in the region called the Falls of the Delaware, led by Mahlon Stacy from Handsworth, England. Quakers were being persecuted in England at this time and North America provided an opportunity to exercise their religious freedom.
By 1719, the town adopted the name "Trent-towne", after William Trent, one of its leading landholders who purchased much of the surrounding land from Stacy's family. This name was shortened to "Trenton". During the American Revolutionary War, the city was the site of the Battle of Trenton, George Washington's first military victory. On December 25–26, 1776, Washington and his army, after crossing the icy Delaware River to Trenton, defeated the Hessian troops garrisoned there. After the war, the Confederation Congress met in Trenton in November and December 1784. While the city was preferred by New England and other northern states as a permanent capital for the new country, the southern states prevailed in their choice of a location south of the Mason–Dixon line. Trenton became the state capital in 1790, but prior to that year the New Jersey Legislature met here; the city was incorporated in 1792. During the War of 1812, the United States Army's primary hospital was at a site on Broad Street. Throughout the 19th century, Trenton grew as European immigrants came to work in its pottery and wire rope mills.
In 1837, with the population now too large for government by council, a new mayoral government was adopted, with by-laws that remain in operation to this day. The Trenton Six were a group of black men arrested for murdering a white man with a soda bottle, they were arrested without warrants, denied lawyers, sentenced to death based on what were described as coerced confessions. With the involvement of the Communist Party and the NAACP, there were several appeals, resulting in a total of four trials; the accused men were released. The incident was the subject of the book Jersey Justice: The Story of the Trenton Six, written by Cathy Knepper; the Trenton Riots of 1968 were a major civil disturbance that took place during the week following the assassination of civil rights leader Martin Luther King in Memphis on April 4. Race riots broke out nationwide following the murder of the civil rights activist. More than 200 Trenton businesses in Downtown, were ransacked and burned. More than 300 people, most of them young black men, were arrested on charges ranging from assault and arson to looting and violating the mayor's emergency curfew.
In addition to 16 injured policemen, 15 firefighters were treated at city hospitals for smoke inhalation, burns and cuts suffered while fighting raging blazes or for injuries inflicted by rioters. Citizens of Trenton's urban core pulled false alarms and would throw bricks at firefighters responding to the alarm boxes; this experience, along with similar experiences in other major cities ended the use of open-cab fire engines. As an interim measure, the Trenton Fire Department fabricated temporary cab enclosures from steel deck plating until new equipment could be obtained; the losses incurred by downtown businesses were estimated by the city to be $7 million, but the total of insurance claims and settlements came to $2.5 million. Trenton's Battle Monument neighborhood was hardest hit. Since the 1950s, North Trenton had witnessed a steady exodus of middle-class residents, the riots spelled the end for North Trenton. By the 1970s, the region had become one of crime-ridden in the city. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city had a total area of 8.155 square miles, including 7.648 square miles of land and 0.507 square mile of water.
Several bridges across the Delaware River – the Trenton–Morrisville Toll Bridge, Lower Trenton Bridge
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