Alma mater is an allegorical Latin phrase for a university, school, or college that one attended. In US usage it can mean the school from which one graduated; the phrase is variously translated as "nourishing mother", "nursing mother", or "fostering mother", suggesting that a school provides intellectual nourishment to its students. Fine arts will depict educational institutions using a robed woman as a visual metaphor. Before its current usage, alma mater was an honorific title for various Latin mother goddesses Ceres or Cybele, in Catholicism for the Virgin Mary, it entered academic usage when the University of Bologna adopted the motto Alma Mater Studiorum, which describes its heritage as the oldest operating university in the Western world. It is related to alumnus, a term used for a university graduate that means a "nursling" or "one, nourished". Although alma was a common epithet for Ceres, Cybele and other mother goddesses, it was not used in conjunction with mater in classical Latin. In the Oxford Latin Dictionary, the phrase is attributed to Lucretius' De rerum natura, where it is used as an epithet to describe an earth goddess: After the fall of Rome, the term came into Christian liturgical usage in association with the Virgin Mary.
"Alma Redemptoris Mater" is a well-known 11th century antiphon devoted to Mary. The earliest documented use of the term to refer to a university in an English-speaking country is in 1600, when the University of Cambridge printer, John Legate, began using an emblem for the university's press; the device's first-known appearance is on the title-page of William Perkins' A Golden Chain, where the Latin phrase Alma Mater Cantabrigia is inscribed on a pedestal bearing a nude, lactating woman wearing a mural crown. In English etymological reference works, the first university-related usage is cited in 1710, when an academic mother figure is mentioned in a remembrance of Henry More by Richard Ward. Many historic European universities have adopted Alma Mater as part of the Latin translation of their official name; the University of Bologna Latin name, Alma Mater Studiorum, refers to its status as the oldest continuously operating university in the world. Other European universities, such as the Alma Mater Lipsiensis in Leipzig, Germany, or Alma Mater Jagiellonica, have used the expression in conjunction with geographical or foundational characteristics.
At least one, the Alma Mater Europaea in Salzburg, Austria, an international university founded by the European Academy of Sciences and Arts in 2010, uses the term as its official name. In the United States, the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, has been called the "Alma Mater of the Nation" because of its ties to the country's founding. At Queen's University in Kingston and the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, British Columbia, the main student government is known as the Alma Mater Society; the ancient Roman world had many statues of the Alma Mater, some still extant. Modern sculptures are found in prominent locations on several American university campuses. For example, in the United States: there is a well-known bronze statue of Alma Mater by Daniel Chester French situated on the steps of Columbia University's Low Library. An altarpiece mural in Yale University's Sterling Memorial Library, painted in 1932 by Eugene Savage, depicts the Alma Mater as a bearer of light and truth, standing in the midst of the personified arts and sciences.
Outside the United States, there is an Alma Mater sculpture on the steps of the monumental entrance to the Universidad de La Habana, in Havana, Cuba. The statue was cast in 1919 by Mario Korbel, with Feliciana Villalón Wilson as the inspiration for Alma Mater, it was installed in its current location in 1927, at the direction of architect Raul Otero. Media related to Alma mater at Wikimedia Commons The dictionary definition of alma mater at Wiktionary Alma Mater Europaea website
Levi Woodbury was an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, a U. S. Senator, the 9th Governor of New Hampshire, cabinet member in three administrations. Born in Francestown, New Hampshire, he established a legal practice in Francestown in 1812. After serving in the New Hampshire Senate, he was appointed to the New Hampshire Supreme Court in 1817, he served as Governor of New Hampshire from 1823 to 1824 and represented New Hampshire in the Senate from 1825 to 1831, becoming affiliated with the Democratic Party of Andrew Jackson. He served as the United States Secretary of the Navy under President Jackson and as the United States Secretary of the Treasury under Jackson and President Martin Van Buren, he served another term representing New Hampshire in the Senate from 1841 to 1845, when he accepted President James K. Polk's appointment to the Supreme Court. Woodbury was the first Justice to have attended law school, he received significant support for the presidential nomination at the 1848 Democratic National Convention among New England delegates, but the nomination went to Lewis Cass of Michigan.
Woodbury served on the court until his death in 1851. Woodbury was born in the son of Mary and Peter Woodbury, he began his education at Atkinson Academy. He graduated from Dartmouth College, Phi Beta Kappa, in 1809 attended Tapping Reeve Law School in Litchfield and read law to be admitted to the New Hampshire Bar in 1812, he became the first Supreme Court justice to attend law school. He was in private practice in Francestown from 1812 to 1816, he joined the Freemasons. His education contributed to his early start in law, which led to his political positions, he began practicing law in his hometown. During his time in Francestown, he wrote the Hillsborough Resolves to defend the Madison administration for their decisions in the War of 1812, which marked the beginning of his political involvement. Following the publication of his defense, he gained the recognition he needed to receive an appointment to the state senate in 1816. In quick succession, he was appointed to the state supreme court a year and in 1823, he was elected as the Governor of New Hampshire.
During the time of his gubernatorial election, there was factionalism within the party. The caucus chose Samuel Dinsmoor as the candidate for governor, but an "irregular" public convention elected Woodbury as the other candidate. Woodbury defeated Dinsmoor by a wide margin, he did not make a lot of progress. He became a U. S. Senator from New Hampshire, during which time he served as the Chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee. Throughout Woodbury's political career, he was characterized as being independent and moderate, which some scholars interpret as indecisiveness and hesitancy. Woodbury was a clerk of the New Hampshire State Senate from 1816 to 1817, a Justice of New Hampshire Superior Court of Judicature from 1817 to 1823, he was Governor of New Hampshire from 1823 to 1824 and was Speaker of the New Hampshire House of Representatives, 1825. Woodbury served as a United States Senator from New Hampshire from 1825 to 1831. Elected to serve in New Hampshire State Senate in 1831, Woodbury did not take office due to his appointment as United States Secretary of the Navy under President Andrew Jackson, from 1831 to 1834.
At the beginning of this term, he was instrumental in the appointment of fellow New Hampshireman Edmund Roberts as special agent and envoy to the Far East. Woodbury served as Secretary of the Treasury under Jackson and Martin Van Buren from 1834 to 1841, served again as Senator from New Hampshire from 1841 to 1845, he was a Justice of the U. S. Supreme Court, 1845 to 1851; as a U. S. Senator, Woodbury was a dependable Jackson Democrat, President Jackson appointed him Secretary of the Navy and Secretary of the Treasury. Woodbury worked to end the Second Bank of the United States. In retrospect, the financial Panic of 1837 and the collapse of speculative land prices were legacies of Woodbury's tenure. After the Panic, Woodbury realised that the U. S. Treasury needed a more secure administration of its own funds than commercial banks supplied, he backed the act for an "Independent Treasury System" passed by Congress in 1840, it was repealed under the new administration the following year, but the foundation was laid for an independent U.
S. Treasury established in 1846, under President James K. Polk. Woodbury served as chairman of the U. S. Senate Committee on Finance during a Special Session of the 29th Congress, his ten-day chairmanship is the shortest on record. In the 1844 presidential election and the Jackson Democrats supported the Democrats' nomination of Polk. In that year, Woodbury delivered a Phi Beta Kappa Address at his alma mater, Dartmouth College, titled "Progress." The address discussed Thomas Cole's series of The Course of Empire. Woodbury believed that, unlike Cole's depiction of a cycle of rise and decline, in the United States there would only be a rise. On September 20, 1845, Polk gave Woodbury a recess appointment to the seat on the U. S. Supreme Court vacated by Joseph Story. Formally nominated on December 23, 1845, Woodbury was confirmed by the United States Senate on January 3, 1846, received his commission the same day, he was promoted as a candidate for president at the 1848 Democratic National Convention, his support was centered in New England.
He remained on the Cou
Democratic Party (United States)
The Democratic Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. Tracing its heritage back to Thomas Jefferson and James Madison's Democratic-Republican Party, the modern-day Democratic Party was founded around 1828 by supporters of Andrew Jackson, making it the world's oldest active political party; the Democrats' dominant worldview was once social conservatism and economic liberalism, while populism was its leading characteristic in the rural South. In 1912, Theodore Roosevelt ran as a third-party candidate in the Progressive Party, beginning a switch of political platforms between the Democratic and Republican Party over the coming decades, leading to Woodrow Wilson being elected as the first fiscally progressive Democrat. Since Franklin D. Roosevelt and his New Deal coalition in the 1930s, the Democratic Party has promoted a social liberal platform, supporting social justice. Well into the 20th century, the party had conservative pro-business and Southern conservative-populist anti-business wings.
The New Deal Coalition of 1932–1964 attracted strong support from voters of recent European extraction—many of whom were Catholics based in the cities. After Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal of the 1930s, the pro-business wing withered outside the South. After the racial turmoil of the 1960s, most Southern whites and many Northern Catholics moved into the Republican Party at the presidential level; the once-powerful labor union element became less supportive after the 1970s. White Evangelicals and Southerners became Republican at the state and local level since the 1990s. People living in metropolitan areas, women and gender minorities, college graduates, racial and ethnic minorities in the United States, such as Jewish Americans, Hispanic Americans, Asian Americans, Arab Americans and African Americans, tend to support the Democratic Party much more than they support the rival Republican Party; the Democratic Party's philosophy of modern liberalism advocates social and economic equality, along with the welfare state.
It seeks to provide government regulation in the economy. These interventions, such as the introduction of social programs, support for labor unions, affordable college tuitions, moves toward universal health care and equal opportunity, consumer protection and environmental protection form the core of the party's economic policy. Fifteen Democrats have served as President of the United States; the first was President Andrew Jackson, the seventh president and served from 1829 to 1837. The most recent was President Barack Obama, the 44th president and held office from 2009 to 2017. Following the 2018 midterm elections, the Democrats held a majority in the House of Representatives, "trifectas" in 14 states, the mayoralty of numerous major American cities, such as Boston, Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco, Portland and Washington, D. C. Twenty-three state governors were Democrats, the Party was the minority party in the Senate and in most state legislatures; as of March 2019, four of the nine Justices of the Supreme Court had been appointed by Democratic presidents.
Democratic Party officials trace its origins to the inspiration of the Democratic-Republican Party, founded by Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and other influential opponents of the Federalists in 1792. That party inspired the Whigs and modern Republicans. Organizationally, the modern Democratic Party arose in the 1830s with the election of Andrew Jackson. Since the nomination of William Jennings Bryan in 1896, the party has positioned itself to the left of the Republican Party on economic issues, they have been more liberal on civil rights issues since 1948. On foreign policy, both parties have changed position several times; the Democratic Party evolved from the Jeffersonian Republican or Democratic-Republican Party organized by Jefferson and Madison in opposition to the Federalist Party of Alexander Hamilton and John Adams. The party favored republicanism; the Democratic-Republican Party came to power in the election of 1800. After the War of 1812, the Federalists disappeared and the only national political party left was the Democratic-Republicans.
The era of one-party rule in the United States, known as the Era of Good Feelings, lasted from 1816 until the early 1830s, when the Whig Party became a national political group to rival the Democratic-Republicans. However, the Democratic-Republican Party still had its own internal factions, they split over the choice of a successor to President James Monroe and the party faction that supported many of the old Jeffersonian principles, led by Andrew Jackson and Martin Van Buren, became the modern Democratic Party. As Norton explains the transformation in 1828: Jacksonians believed the people's will had prevailed. Through a lavishly financed coalition of state parties, political leaders, newspaper editors, a popular movement had elected the president; the Democrats became the nation's first well-organized national party and tight party organization became the hallmark of nineteenth-century American politics. Opposing factions led by Henry Clay helped form the Whig Party; the Democratic Party had a small yet decisive advantage over the Whigs until the 1850s, when the Whigs fell apart over the issue of slavery.
In 1854, angry with the Kansas–Nebraska Act, anti-slavery Dem
23rd United States Congress
The Twenty-third United States Congress was a meeting of the legislative branch of the United States federal government, consisting of the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives. It met in Washington, D. C. from March 4, 1833, to March 4, 1835, during the fifth and sixth years of Andrew Jackson's presidency. The apportionment of seats in the House of Representatives was based on the Fifth Census of the United States in 1830; the Senate had an Anti-Jacksonian or National Republican majority, the House had a Jacksonian or Democratic majority. March 28, 1834: Senate censured President Andrew Jackson for defunding the Second Bank of the United States January 30, 1835: Richard Lawrence unsuccessfully tried to assassinate President Jackson in the United States Capitol; the count below identifies party affiliations at the beginning of the first session of this congress. Changes resulting from subsequent replacements are shown below in the "Changes in membership" section.
For the beginning of this congress, the size of the House was increased from 213 seats to 240 seats, following the 1830 United States Census. President: Martin Van Buren President pro tempore: Hugh Lawson White, until December 15, 1833 George Poindexter, June 28, 1834 – November 30, 1834 John Tyler, from March 3, 1835 Speaker: Andrew Stevenson, until June 2, 1834 John Bell, after June 2, 1834 This list is arranged by chamber by state. Senators are listed by class, Representatives are listed by district. Skip to House of Representatives, below Senators were elected by the state legislatures every two years, with one-third beginning new six-year terms with each Congress. Preceding the names in the list below are Senate class numbers, which indicate the cycle of their election. In this Congress, Class 1 meant their term began with this Congress, requiring reelection in 1838; the count below reflects changes from the beginning of the first session of this Congress. Replacements: 18 Jacksonian: 1 seat net loss Anti-Jacksonian: 1 seat net gain deaths: 8 resignations: 15 contested election: 1 Total seats with changes: 23 Lists of committees and their party leaders.
Agriculture Amendments to the Constitution Audit and Control the Contingent Expenses of the Senate Claims Commerce Distributing Public Revenue Among the States District of Columbia Establishing Branches of the Mint Executive Patronage Finance Foreign Relations French Spoilations Indian Affairs Judiciary Manufactures Michigan and Arkansas Admission to the Union Mileage of Members of Congress Military Affairs Militia Naval Affairs Pensions Post Office and Post Roads President's Message Refusing to Furnish a Paper to Senate Private Land Claims Public Lands Purchasing Boyd Reilly's Gas Apparatus Revolutionary Claims Roads and Canals Shiloh National Park Tariff Regulation Whole Accounts Agriculture Bank of the United States Biennial Register Boundary of the Chickasaw Indians Claims Commerce District of Columbia Elections Establishing an Assay Office in the Gold Region Expenditures in the Navy Department Expenditures in the Post Office Department Expenditures in the State Department Expenditures in the Treasury Department Expenditures in the War Department Expenditures on Public Buildings Foreign Affairs Indian Affairs Invalid Pensions Manufactures Military Affairs Naval Affairs Post Office and Post Roads Public Expenditures Public Lands Revisal and Unfinished Business Revolutionary Claims Roads and Canals Rules Standards of Official Conduct Territories Ways and Means Whole Enrolled Bills Librarian of Congress: John Silva Meehan Secretary: Walter Lowrie Sergeant at Arms: Mountjoy Bayly, until December 9, 1833 John Shackford, elected December 9, 1833 Chaplain: Frederick W. Hatch Clerk: Walter S. Franklin Sergeant at Arms: Thomas B.
Randolph Doorkeeper: Overton Carr Postmaster: William J. McCormick Reading Clerks: Chaplain: Thomas H. Stockton Edward D. Smith, elected December 1, 1834 United States elections, 1832 United States presidential election, 1832 United States Senate elections, 1832 and 1833 United States House of Representatives elections, 1832 United States elections, 1834 United States Senate elections, 1834 and 1835 United States House of Representatives elections, 1834 Martis, Kenneth C.. The Historical Atlas of United States Congressional Districts. New York: Macmillan Publishing Company. Martis, Kenneth C.. The Historical Atlas of Political Parties in the United States Congress. New York: Macmillan Publishing Company. Statutes at Large, 1789-1875 Senate Journal, First Forty-three Sessions of Congress House Journal, First Forty-three Sessions of Congress Biographical Directory of the U. S. Congress U. S. House of Representatives: House History U. S. Senate: Statistics and Lists Congressional Directory of the 23rd Congress, 1st Session
The Federalist Party, referred to as the Pro-Administration party until the 3rd United States Congress as opposed to their opponents in the Anti-Administration party, was the first American political party. It existed from the early 1790s to the 1820s, with their last presidential candidate being fielded in 1816, they appealed to business and to conservatives who favored banks, national over state government and preferred Britain and opposed the French Revolution. The Federalists called for a strong national government that promoted economic growth and fostered friendly relationships with Great Britain as well as opposition to Revolutionary France; the party controlled the federal government until 1801, when it was overwhelmed by the Democratic-Republican opposition led by Thomas Jefferson. The Federalist Party came into being between 1792 and 1794 as a national coalition of bankers and businessmen in support of Alexander Hamilton's fiscal policies; these supporters developed into the organized Federalist Party, committed to a fiscally sound and nationalistic government.
The only Federalist President was John Adams. George Washington was broadly sympathetic to the Federalist program, but he remained non-partisan during his entire presidency. Federalist policies called for a national bank and good relations with Great Britain as expressed in the Jay Treaty negotiated in 1794. Hamilton developed the concept of implied powers and argued the adoption of that interpretation of the United States Constitution, their political opponents, the Democratic-Republicans led by Thomas Jefferson, denounced most of the Federalist policies the bank and implied powers. The Jay Treaty passed and the Federalists won most of the major legislative battles in the 1790s, they held a strong base in New England. After the Democratic-Republicans, whose base was in the rural South, won the hard-fought presidential election of 1800, the Federalists never returned to power, they recovered some strength through their intense opposition to the War of 1812, but they vanished during the Era of Good Feelings that followed the end of the war in 1815.
The Federalists left a lasting legacy in the form of a strong Federal government with a sound financial base. After losing executive power, they decisively shaped Supreme Court policy for another three decades through the person of Chief Justice John Marshall. On taking office in 1789, President Washington nominated New York lawyer Alexander Hamilton to the office of Secretary of the Treasury. Hamilton wanted a strong national government with financial credibility. Hamilton proposed the ambitious Hamiltonian economic program that involved assumption of the state debts incurred during the American Revolution, creating a national debt and the means to pay it off and setting up a national bank, along with creating tariffs. James Madison was Hamilton's ally in the fight to ratify the new Constitution, but Madison and Thomas Jefferson opposed Hamilton's programs by 1791. Political parties had not been anticipated when the Constitution was drafted in 1787 and ratified in 1788 though both Hamilton and Madison played major roles.
Parties were considered to be harmful to republicanism. No similar parties existed anywhere in the world. By 1790, Hamilton started building a nationwide coalition. Realizing the need for vocal political support in the states, he formed connections with like-minded nationalists and used his network of treasury agents to link together friends of the government merchants and bankers, in the new nation's dozen major cities, his attempts to manage politics in the national capital to get his plans through Congress "brought strong" responses across the country. In the process, what began as a capital faction soon assumed status as a national faction and as the new Federalist Party; the Federalist Party supported Hamilton's vision of a strong centralized government and agreed with his proposals for a national bank and heavy government subsidies. In foreign affairs, they supported neutrality in the war between Great Britain; the majority of the Founding Fathers were Federalists. Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and many others can all be considered Federalists.
These Federalists felt that the Articles of Confederation had been too weak to sustain a working government and had decided that a new form of government was needed. Hamilton was made Secretary of the Treasury and when he came up with the idea of funding the debt he created a split in the original Federalist group. Madison disagreed with Hamilton not just on this issue, but on many others as well and he and John J. Beckley created the Anti-Federalist faction; these men would form the Republican party under Thomas Jefferson. By the early 1790s, newspapers started calling Hamilton supporters "Federalists" and their opponents "Democrats", "Republicans", "Jeffersonians", or—much later—"Democratic-Republicans". Jefferson's supporters called themselves "Republicans" and their party the "Republican Party"; the Federalist Party became popular with businessmen and New Englanders as Republicans were farmers who opposed a strong central government. Cities were Federalist strongholds whereas frontier regions were Republican.
However, these are generalizations as there are special cases such as the Presbyterians of upland North Carolina, who had immigrated just before the Revolution and been Tories, became Federalists. The Congregationalists of New England and the Episcopalians in the larger cities supported the Federalists while other minority denominations tended toward the Republican camp. Catholics
21st United States Congress
The Twenty-first United States Congress was a meeting of the legislative branch of the United States federal government, consisting of the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives. It met in Washington, D. C. from March 4, 1829, to March 4, 1831, during the first two years of Andrew Jackson's presidency. The apportionment of seats in the House of Representatives was based on the Fourth Census of the United States in 1820. Both chambers had a Jacksonian majority. March 4, 1829: Andrew Jackson became President of the United States May 28, 1830: Indian Removal Act, ch. 148, 4 Stat. 411 May 27, 1830: Maysville Road Bill vetoed September 27, 1830: The Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek, the first removal treaty after the passage of the Indian Removal Act, is signed with the Choctaw. February 24, 1831: Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek proclaimed; the count below identifies party affiliations at the beginning of the first session of this Congress. Changes resulting from subsequent replacements are shown below in the "Changes in membership" section.
President: John C. Calhoun President pro tempore: Samuel Smith Speaker: Andrew Stevenson This list is arranged by chamber by state. Senators are listed in order of seniority, Representatives are listed by district. Skip to House of Representatives, below Senators were elected by the state legislatures every two years, with one-third beginning new six-year terms with each Congress. Preceding the names in the list below are Senate class numbers, which indicate the cycle of their election. In this Congress, Class 1 meant their term began in the last Congress, requiring reelection in 1832; the names of members of the House of Representatives are preceded by their district numbers. The count below reflects changes from the beginning of the first session of this Congress. Replacements: 4 Jacksonians: no net change Anti-Jacksonians: no net change Deaths: 4 Resignations: 4 Interim appointments: 1 Total seats with changes: 7 Replacements: 5 Jacksonians: 1 seat net loss Anti-Jacksonian: 1 seat net gain Deaths: 2 Resignations: 10 Contested election: 2Total seats with changes: 15 Lists of committees and their party leaders.
Accounts of James Monroe Agriculture Amending the Constitution on the Election of the President and Vice President Audit and Control the Contingent Expenses of the Senate Claims Commerce Distributing Public Revenue Among the States District of Columbia Dueling Finance Foreign Relations French Spoilations Impeachment of James H. Peck Indian Affairs Judiciary Manufactures Memorial of the Manufacturers Iron Mileage of Members of Congress Military Affairs Militia Naval Affairs Nomination of Amos Kendall Pensions Post Office Department Post Office and Post Roads Private Land Claims Public Lands Roads and Canals Tariff Regulation Whole Accounts Agriculture American Colonization Society Claims Commerce District of Columbia Elections Establishing an Assay Office in the Gold Region Expenditures in the Navy Department Expenditures in the Post Office Department Expenditures in the State Department Expenditures in the Treasury Department Expenditures in the War Department Expenditures on Public Buildings Foreign Affairs Indian Affairs Manufactures Military Affairs Military Pensions Naval Affairs Post Office and Post Roads Public Expenditures Public Lands Revisal and Unfinished Business Revolutionary Claims Rules Standards of Official Conduct Territories Ways and Means Whole Enrolled Bills Architect of the Capitol: Charles Bulfinch, until June 25, 1829 Librarian of Congress: John Silva Meehan Chaplain: William Ryland Henry V. Johns, elected December 14, 1829 Secretary: Walter Lowrie Sergeant at Arms: Mountjoy Bayly Chaplain: Reuben Post Ralph R. Gurley, elected December 6, 1830 Clerk: Matthew St. Clair Clarke Doorkeeper: Benjamin Birch Reading Clerks: Sergeant at Arms: John O. Dunn United States elections, 1828 United States presidential election, 1828 United States Senate elections, 1828 and 1829 United States House of Representatives elections, 1828 United States elections, 1830 United States Senate elections, 1830 and 1831 United States House of Representatives elections, 1830 From American Memory at the Library of Congress: Statutes at Large, 1789-1875 Senate Journal, First Forty-three Sessions of Congress House Journal, First Forty-three Sessions of Congress Congressional Directory for the 21st Congress, 1st Session.
Other U. S. government websites: House Document No. 108-222 from the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress House History from the U. S. House of Representatives Statistics and Lists from the U. S. Senate
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