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
Hannibal Hamlin was an American attorney and politician from the state of Maine. In a public service career that spanned over 50 years, he is most notable for having served as the 15th vice president of the United States; the first Republican to hold the office, Hamlin served from 1861 to 1865. He is considered among the most influential politicians to have come from Maine. A native of Paris, Hamlin managed his father's farm before becoming a newspaper editor, he studied law, was admitted to the bar in 1833, began to practice in Hampden, Maine. A Democrat, Hamlin began his political career with election to the Maine House of Representatives in 1835 and an appointment to the military staff of the Governor of Maine; as an officer in the militia, he took part in the 1839 negotiations that helped end the Aroostook War. In the 1840s Hamlin was served in the United States House of Representatives. In 1848 the state house elected him to the United States Senate, where he served until January 1857, he served temporarily as governor for six weeks in the beginning of 1857, after which he returned to the Senate.
Hamlin was an active opponent of slavery. In 1854, he opposed passage of the Kansas–Nebraska Act. Hamlin's anti-slavery views caused him to leave the Democratic Party for the newly formed Republican Party in 1856. In 1860, Hamlin was the Republican nominee for Vice President; the Lincoln and Hamlin ticket was successful, Hamlin served as Vice President from 1861 to 1865, which included all but the last month of the American Civil War. The first Republican Vice President, Hamlin held the office in an era when the office was considered more a part of the legislative branch than the executive. So, Hamlin supported the administration's legislative program in his role as presiding officer of the Senate, he looked for other ways to demonstrate his support for the Union, including a term of service in a Maine militia unit during the war. For the 1864 election, Hamlin was replaced as Vice Presidential nominee by Andrew Johnson, a Southern Democrat chosen for his appeal to Southern Unionists. After leaving the vice presidency, Hamlin served as Collector of the Port of Boston, a lucrative post to which he was appointed by Johnson after the latter succeeded to the presidency following Lincoln's assassination.
However, Hamlin resigned as Collector because of his disagreement with Johnson over Reconstruction of the former Confederacy. In 1869, Hamlin was elected again to the U. S. Senate, he served two terms. After leaving the Senate in 1881, he served as United States Ambassador to Spain before returning to Maine in late 1882. In retirement, Hamlin was a resident of Bangor, where he died in 1891, he was buried at Mount Hope Cemetery in Bangor. Hamlin was born to his wife Anna, née Livermore, in Paris, he was a descendant in the sixth generation of English colonist James Hamlin, who had settled in the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1639. He was a grandnephew of U. S. Senator Samuel Livermore II of New Hampshire. Hamlin attended the district schools and Hebron Academy and managed his father's farm. From 1827 to 1830 he published the Oxford Jeffersonian newspaper in partnership with Horatio King, he studied law with the firm headed by Samuel Fessenden, was admitted to the bar in 1833, began practicing in Hampden, where he lived until 1848.
Hamlin married Sarah Jane Emery of Paris Hill in 1833. Her father was Stephen Emery, appointed as Maine's Attorney General in 1839–1840. Hamlin and Sarah had four children together: George, Charles and Sarah, his wife died in 1855. The next year, Hamlin married her half-sister, Ellen Vesta Emery in 1856, they had two children together: Frank. Ellen Hamlin died in 1925. Hamlin's political career began in 1835. Appointed a Major on the staff of Governor John Fairfield, he served with the militia in the bloodless Aroostook War of 1839, he facilitated negotiations between Fairfield and Lieutenant Governor John Harvey of New Brunswick, which helped reduce tensions and make possible the Webster–Ashburton Treaty, which ended the war. Hamlin unsuccessfully ran for the United States House of Representatives in 1840 and left the State House in 1841, he was elected to two terms in the United States House of Representatives, serving from 1843 to 1847. He was elected by the state legislature to fill a U. S. Senate vacancy in 1848, to a full term in 1851.
A Democrat at the beginning of his career, Hamlin supported the candidacy of Franklin Pierce in 1852. From the beginning of his service in Congress, Hamlin was prominent as an opponent of the extension of slavery, he was a conspicuous supporter of the Wilmot Proviso and spoke against the Compromise Measures of 1850. In 1854, Hamlin opposed the passage of the Kansas–Nebraska Act, which repealed the Missouri Compromise. After the Democratic Party endorsed that repeal at the 1856 Democratic National Convention, on June 12, 1856, he withdrew from the Democratic Party and joined the newly organized Republican Party, causing a national sensation; the Republicans nominated Hamlin for Governor of Maine in the same year. He carried the election by a large m
Republican Party (United States)
The Republican Party referred to as the GOP, is one of the two major political parties in the United States. The GOP was founded in 1854 by opponents of the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which had expanded slavery into U. S. territories. The party subscribed to classical liberalism and took ideological stands that were anti-slavery and pro-economic reform. Abraham Lincoln was the first Republican president in the history of the United States; the Party was dominant over the Democrats during the Third Party System and Fourth Party System. In 1912, Theodore Roosevelt formed the Progressive Party after being rejected by the GOP and ran unsuccessfully as a third-party presidential candidate calling for social reforms. After the 1912 election, many Roosevelt supporters left the Party, the Party underwent an ideological shift to the right; the liberal Republican element in the GOP was overwhelmed by a conservative surge begun by Barry Goldwater in 1964 that continued during the Reagan Era in the 1980s. After the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the party's core base shifted, with the Southern states becoming more reliably Republican in presidential politics and the Northeastern states becoming more reliably Democratic.
White voters identified with the Republican Party after the 1960s. Following the Supreme Court's 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade, the Republican Party made opposition to abortion a key plank of its national party platform and grew its support among evangelicals. By 2000, the Republican Party was aligned with Christian conservatism; the Party's core support since the 1990s comes chiefly from the South, the Great Plains, the Mountain States and rural areas in the North. The 21st century Republican Party ideology is American conservatism, which contrasts with the Democrats' liberal platform and progressive wing; the GOP supports lower taxes, free market capitalism, a strong national defense, gun rights and restrictions on labor unions. The GOP was committed to protectionism and tariffs from its founding until the 1930s when it was based in the industrial Northeast and Midwest, but has grown more supportive of free trade since 1952. In addition to advocating for conservative economic policies, the Republican Party is conservative.
Founded in the Northern states in 1854 by abolitionists, modernizers, ex-Whigs and ex-Free Soilers, the Republican Party became the principal opposition to the dominant Democratic Party and the popular Know Nothing Party. The party grew out of opposition to the Kansas–Nebraska Act, which repealed the Missouri Compromise and opened Kansas Territory and Nebraska Territory to slavery and future admission as slave states; the Northern Republicans saw the expansion of slavery as a great evil. The first public meeting of the general anti-Nebraska movement, at which the name Republican was suggested for a new anti-slavery party, was held on March 20, 1854 in a schoolhouse in Ripon, Wisconsin; the name was chosen to pay homage to Thomas Jefferson's Republican Party. The first official party convention was held on July 1854 in Jackson, Michigan. At the 1856 Republican National Convention, the party adopted a national platform emphasizing opposition to the expansion of slavery into U. S. territories. While Republican candidate John C.
Frémont lost the 1856 United States presidential election to James Buchanan, he did win 11 of the 16 northern states. The Republican Party first came to power in the elections of 1860 when it won control of both houses of Congress and its candidate, former congressman Abraham Lincoln, was elected President. In the election of 1864, it united with War Democrats to nominate Lincoln on the National Union Party ticket. Under Republican congressional leadership, the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution—which banned slavery in the United States—passed the Senate in 1864 and the House in 1865; the party's success created factionalism within the party in the 1870s. Those who felt that Reconstruction had been accomplished, was continued to promote the large-scale corruption tolerated by President Ulysses S. Grant, ran Horace Greeley for the presidency; the Stalwart faction defended Grant and the spoils system, whereas the Half-Breeds pushed for reform of the civil service. The Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act was passed in 1883.
The Republican Party supported hard money, high tariffs to promote economic growth, high wages and high profits, generous pensions for Union veterans, the annexation of Hawaii. The Republicans had strong support from pietistic Protestants, but they resisted demands for Prohibition; as the Northern postwar economy boomed with heavy and light industry, mines, fast-growing cities, prosperous agriculture, the Republicans took credit and promoted policies to sustain the fast growth. The GOP was dominant over the Democrats during the Third Party System. However, by 1890 the Republicans had agreed to the Sherman Antitrust Act and the Interstate Commerce Commission in response to complaints from owners of small businesses and farmers; the high McKinley Tariff of 1890 hurt the party and the Democrats swept to a landslide in the off-year elections defeating McKinley himself. The Democrats elected Grover Cleveland in 1884 and 1892; the election of William McKinley in 1896 was marked by a resurgence of Republican dominance that lasted until 1932.
McKinley promised that high tariffs would end the severe hardship caused by the Pa
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
Thompson H. Murch
Thompson Henry Murch was a nineteenth-century politician, editor and merchant from Maine. He was among the first trade unionists elected to the United States Congress. Murch was born in Hampden, the son of Mary and Thompson Henry Murch. Murch spent his early life at sea, his father was a sea-captain. Murch learned the trade of stonecutting and engaged in that occupation for eighteen years, living in a rented house on Dix Island, the site of a major granite quarry, he became editor and publisher of the Granite Cutters' International Journal in 1877 and was secretary of the Granite Cutters' International Association of America in 1877 and 1878. Murch was elected a Greenbacker to the United States House of Representatives in 1878, serving from 1879 to 1883. Murch's election, along with fellow Greenback candidate George W. Ladd from nearby Bangor embarrassed the state and national Republican establishments, who'd come to consider Maine safe for the party. Murch was attacked in the New York Times and other Republican papers as "the Communist candidate" and called disrespectfully "Murch, the stonecutter".
A front-page New York Times article caricatured him as "an ignorant stone-cutter, never heard of until a few months ago, a Communist, a demagogue of the lowest type". Less biased sources described Murch as honest, a devoted family man; the Reading Eagle suggested that thousands of Republicans supported Murch as "the man who broke the Blaine, Hamlin Ring", referring to the three most prominent Republican politicians in Maine, one of whom Murch had defeated. After his defeat in the 1882 election, Murch engaged in mercantile pursuits until his death in Danvers, Massachusetts on December 15, 1886, he was interred in Hampden Cemetery in Maine. United States Congress. "Thompson H. Murch". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Thompson H. Murch at Find a GraveUnited States Congress. "Thompson H. Murch". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
Cabinet of the United States
The Cabinet of the United States is part of the executive branch of the federal government of the United States. The Cabinet's role, inferred from the language of the Opinion Clause of the Constitution, is to serve as an advisory body to the President of the United States. Additionally, the Twenty-fifth Amendment authorizes the Vice President, together with a majority of certain members of the Cabinet, to declare the president "unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office". Among the senior officers of the Cabinet are the Vice President and the heads of the federal executive departments, all of whom—if eligible—are in the line of succession. Members of the Cabinet serve at the pleasure of the President, who can dismiss them at will for no cause. All federal public officials, including Cabinet members, are subject to impeachment by the House of Representatives and trial in the Senate for "treason and other high crimes and misdemeanors"; the President can unilaterally designate senior White House staffers, heads of other federal agencies as members of the Cabinet, although this is a symbolic status marker and does not, apart from attending Cabinet meetings, confer any additional powers.
The tradition of the Cabinet arose out of the debates at the 1787 Constitutional Convention regarding whether the president would exercise executive authority singly or collaboratively with a cabinet of ministers or a privy council. As a result of the debates, the Constitution vests "all executive power" in the president singly, authorizes—but does not compel—the president to "require the Opinion, in writing, of the principal Officer in each of the executive Departments, upon any Subject relating to the Duties of their respective Offices"; the Constitution does not specify what the executive departments will be, how many there will be, or what their duties should be. George Washington, the first U. S. President, organized his principal officers into a Cabinet, it has been part of the executive branch structure since. Washington's Cabinet consisted of five members: himself, Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson, Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton, Secretary of War Henry Knox and Attorney General Edmund Randolph.
Vice President John Adams was not included in Washington's Cabinet because the position was regarded as a legislative officer. It was not until the 20th century that Vice Presidents were included as members of the Cabinet and came to be regarded as a member of the executive branch. Presidents have used Cabinet meetings of selected principal officers but to differing extents and for different purposes. Secretary of State William H. Seward and Professor Woodrow Wilson advocated the use of a parliamentary-style Cabinet government, but President Abraham Lincoln rebuffed Seward, Woodrow Wilson would have none of it in his administration. In recent administrations, Cabinets have grown to include key White House staff in addition to department and various agency heads. President Ronald Reagan formed seven subcabinet councils to review many policy issues, subsequent Presidents have followed that practice. In 3 U. S. C. § 302 with regard to delegation of authority by the President, it is provided that "nothing herein shall be deemed to require express authorization in any case in which such an official would be presumed in law to have acted by authority or direction of the President."
This pertains directly to the heads of the executive departments as each of their offices is created and specified by statutory law and thus gives them the authority to act for the President within their areas of responsibility without any specific delegation. Under the 1967 Federal Anti-Nepotism statute, federal officials are prohibited from appointing their immediate family members to certain governmental positions, including those in the Cabinet. Under the Federal Vacancies Reform Act of 1998, an administration may appoint acting heads of department from employees of the relevant department; these may be existing high-level career employees, from political appointees of the outgoing administration, or sometimes lower-level appointees of the administration. The heads of the executive departments and all other federal agency heads are nominated by the President and presented to the Senate for confirmation or rejection by a simple majority. If approved, they receive their commission scroll, are sworn in and begin their duties.
An elected Vice President does not require Senate confirmation, nor does the White House Chief of Staff, an appointed staff position of the Executive Office of the President. The heads of the executive departments and most other senior federal officers at cabinet or sub-cabinet level receive their salary under a fixed five-level pay plan known as the Executive Schedule, codified in Title 5 of the United States Code. Twenty-one positions, including the heads of the executive departments and others, receiving Level I pay are listed in 5 U. S. C. § 5312, those forty-six positions on Level II pay are listed in 5 U. S. C. § 5313. As of January 2016, the Level I annual pay was set at $205,700; the annual salary of the Vice President is $235,300. The salary level was set by the Government Salary Reform Act of 1989, which provides an automatic cost of living adjustment for federal employees; the Vice President receives th
George W. McCrary
George Washington McCrary was a four-term Republican Congressman from Iowa's 1st congressional district, a United States Secretary of War in the cabinet of President Rutherford B. Hayes, a federal circuit judge. George Washington McCrary was born near Evansville, Indiana in 1835. Two years he moved with his parents to Wisconsin Territory, to what is now Van Buren County, Iowa, he attended the public schools. He studied law in Keokuk, Iowa at the law firm of future U. S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel F. Miller was admitted to the bar in 1856, and, at the age of twenty, commenced practice in Keokuk, he was elected to the Iowa House of Representatives in 1857, serving until 1860. He was a member of Iowa Senate between 1861 and 1865. In 1868 he was elected as a Republican to the first of four consecutive terms representing Iowa's 1st congressional district in the U. S. House. In his first month in Congress he received national attention for refusing to support an appropriation for a federal courthouse in Keokuk because the nation was in debt and he could not support such a courthouse in every district.
In the House, he chaired the Committee on Elections, the Committee on Railways and Canals. He published A Treatise on the American Law of Elections, in 1875. In the Forty-fourth Congress, as a member of the House Judiciary Committee, he was the author of a farsighted bill to reorganize the federal courts to enable reasonable and prompt judicial review, he helped create the Electoral Commission to resolve the outcome of the 1876 Presidential Election, served on the committee that investigated the Credit Mobilier scandal. He served as the Secretary of War under President Hayes from March 12, 1877 to December 1879, when he resigned to accept his next appointment; as Secretary, he withdrew federal troops from the remaining reconstruction governments in South Carolina and Louisiana, used federal troops in the 1877 railway strike and in Mexican border disturbances. But the greatest military conflicts during his watch occurred in the American West, in battles with certain Native American tribes in Colorado, New Mexico, elsewhere.
He was elected as a 3rd Class member of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States. This was due to President Hayes' influence as a prominent member of MOLLUS. On December 1, 1879, President Hayes nominated McCrary to become a judge of the United States Circuit Court for the Eighth Circuit. Referencing his family's financial need after his many years of public service, he left the court in 1884 to become general counsel for the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway, he died in Saint Joseph, Missouri in 1890, after suffering from a stomach tumor. He was interred in Oakland Cemetery in Keokuk. United States Congress. "George W. McCrary". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. George W. McCrary at Find a Grave