The United States of America known as the United States or America, is a country composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U. S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D. C. and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico; the State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean; the U. S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The diverse geography and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.
Paleo-Indians migrated from Siberia to the North American mainland at least 12,000 years ago. European colonization began in the 16th century; the United States emerged from the thirteen British colonies established along the East Coast. Numerous disputes between Great Britain and the colonies following the French and Indian War led to the American Revolution, which began in 1775, the subsequent Declaration of Independence in 1776; the war ended in 1783 with the United States becoming the first country to gain independence from a European power. The current constitution was adopted in 1788, with the first ten amendments, collectively named the Bill of Rights, being ratified in 1791 to guarantee many fundamental civil liberties; the United States embarked on a vigorous expansion across North America throughout the 19th century, acquiring new territories, displacing Native American tribes, admitting new states until it spanned the continent by 1848. During the second half of the 19th century, the Civil War led to the abolition of slavery.
By the end of the century, the United States had extended into the Pacific Ocean, its economy, driven in large part by the Industrial Revolution, began to soar. The Spanish–American War and World War I confirmed the country's status as a global military power; the United States emerged from World War II as a global superpower, the first country to develop nuclear weapons, the only country to use them in warfare, a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. Sweeping civil rights legislation, notably the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Fair Housing Act of 1968, outlawed discrimination based on race or color. During the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union competed in the Space Race, culminating with the 1969 U. S. Moon landing; the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 left the United States as the world's sole superpower. The United States is the world's oldest surviving federation, it is a representative democracy.
The United States is a founding member of the United Nations, World Bank, International Monetary Fund, Organization of American States, other international organizations. The United States is a developed country, with the world's largest economy by nominal GDP and second-largest economy by PPP, accounting for a quarter of global GDP; the U. S. economy is post-industrial, characterized by the dominance of services and knowledge-based activities, although the manufacturing sector remains the second-largest in the world. The United States is the world's largest importer and the second largest exporter of goods, by value. Although its population is only 4.3% of the world total, the U. S. holds 31% of the total wealth in the world, the largest share of global wealth concentrated in a single country. Despite wide income and wealth disparities, the United States continues to rank high in measures of socioeconomic performance, including average wage, human development, per capita GDP, worker productivity.
The United States is the foremost military power in the world, making up a third of global military spending, is a leading political and scientific force internationally. In 1507, the German cartographer Martin Waldseemüller produced a world map on which he named the lands of the Western Hemisphere America in honor of the Italian explorer and cartographer Amerigo Vespucci; the first documentary evidence of the phrase "United States of America" is from a letter dated January 2, 1776, written by Stephen Moylan, Esq. to George Washington's aide-de-camp and Muster-Master General of the Continental Army, Lt. Col. Joseph Reed. Moylan expressed his wish to go "with full and ample powers from the United States of America to Spain" to seek assistance in the revolutionary war effort; the first known publication of the phrase "United States of America" was in an anonymous essay in The Virginia Gazette newspaper in Williamsburg, Virginia, on April 6, 1776. The second draft of the Articles of Confederation, prepared by John Dickinson and completed by June 17, 1776, at the latest, declared "The name of this Confederation shall be the'United States of America'".
The final version of the Articles sent to the states for ratification in late 1777 contains the sentence "The Stile of this Confederacy shall be'The United States of America'". In June 1776, Thomas Jefferson wrote the phrase "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA" in all capitalized letters in the headline of his "original Rough draught" of the Declaration of Independence; this draft of the document did not surface unti
John G. Palfrey
John Gorham Palfrey was an American clergyman and historian who served as a U. S. Representative from Massachusetts. A Unitarian minister, he played a leading role in the early history of Harvard Divinity School, he became involved in politics as a State Representative and U. S. Congressman, he was born in Boston, Massachusetts to Mary Sturgis Gorham and John Palfrey, a son of the merchant and Patriot William Palfrey. In 1803, his mother died soon after giving birth, in 1804 his father moved to Baltimore. Palfrey began school at the Berry Street Academy in Boston and studied Greek and Latin with William Ellery Channing, he completed preparatory studies as a "charity student" at Phillips Exeter Academy, New Hampshire, graduated from Harvard University in 1815. He studied theology at Harvard Divinity School. Palfrey was ordained minister of Boston's Brattle Square Unitarian Church on June 17, 1818, he held the usual duties of preaching two sermons every Sunday, calling on all his parishioners at least once a year, teaching Sunday school, visiting the sick and poor.
He was a member of the American Unitarian Association. When the Society for the Promotion of Theological Education, which controlled Harvard Divinity School at the time, appealed to alumni for funds to build Divinity Hall, Palfrey preached two sermons to raise $2,000, he became the society's secretary in 1827 and a Harvard Overseer in 1828, when he began teaching part-time. In 1831, after Andrews Norton retired in 1830, he became a Professor of Biblical Literature and Dean of Faculty at the Divinity School and removed to Cambridge. In this position, in addition to teaching the Bible and other semitic languages, he was in charge of the building, organized faculty meetings, was the chief disciplinarian, he made changes, including instituting a new set of rules for the school, reorganizing the curriculum, dealing with complaints from faculty members about their salaries. As a professor, he taught Unitarian ministers such as Andrew Peabody, William Henry Channing, James Freeman Clarke, Chandler Robbins, William Greenleaf Eliot, Cyrus A. Bartol, Charles Timothy Brooks, George Edward Ellis, Abiel Abbot Livermore, Theodore Parker, Henry Whitney Bellows, Edmund Hamilton Sears, Rufus Phineas Stebbins, the philosopher William Dexter Wilson, the artist Christopher Pearse Cranch, the music critic John Sullivan Dwight, the Swedenborgian Benjamin Fiske Barrett.
After living in Divinity Hall with his students for several months, Palfrey built a house north of the college on 12 acres he bought, the Palfrey home until 1916, when it was bought by Harvard. It still stands today as Palfrey House, part of the Department of Physics. For a picture, see: https://web.archive.org/web/20100708105701/http://www.hepl.harvard.edu/intro.html To add to his income, Palfrey was at various times in his life editor of several publications. First, in 1824 and 1825 he was editor of the Christian Disciple, which he renamed the Christian Examiner, he was editor of the North American Review from 1835 to 1843, having become a financial partner in that publication in 1817 and having bought the Review in 1835. Difficulty managing both teaching and editing led him to resign from the Divinity School in 1839 when the Corporation would not allow him to teach part-time, he sold the Review in 1842 after it had become a financial liability due to the Panic of 1837. As a writer he is best known by his History of New England to the Revolutionary War, in five volumes, of which the first appeared in 1859 and the last posthumously in 1890.
The writing of this consumed much of his life, he worked with early state sources and made a research trip to England in 1856. He wrote various works on theology earlier in his career, he was elected a member of the American Antiquarian Society in 1856. Not having been politically involved or written in newspapers, he was elected as a Whig to the Massachusetts House of Representatives in 1842 and 1843, he was chairman of the House Standing Committee on Education, working with Horace Mann. During his second term, the Whigs were in the minority, leading to several legislative disappointments, so he sought state office instead of re-election to the House, he became Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth, a post he held from 1844 to 1848. As secretary, a ceremonial position, he introduced statistical tables which set a new standard for the state, organized the Revolutionary War records to better answer pension claims, organized the state's 14,000 volumes and 40,000 pamphlets of written records.
Palfrey was elected as a Whig to the Thirtieth Congress. He was a "Conscience Whig" who opposed slavery, having freed sixteen slaves inherited from his father, like his two brothers, was a successful Louisiana plantation owner. In Washington, he was a member of a small group of anti-slavery congressmen, including Joshua Giddings, who met regularly, his anti-slavery views alienated him from more conservative members of his district, such as the "Cotton Whigs," and in 1848 he was unsuccessful in his campaign for re-election on the Free-Soil ticket. He was the Free-Soil candidate for Governor of Massachusetts in 1851. In addition to opposing slavery, Congressman Palfrey advocated for the rights of free blacks traveling in the South and attempted unsuccessfully to remove provisions that limited suffrage to whites in Oregon's Territorial Constitution; as the anti-slavery movement grew in Massachusetts and the Republican Party emerged, Palfrey's political fortunes improved again. After Abraham Lincoln's election in 1861, Senator Charles Sumner secured him appoint
First Unitarian Church (Baltimore, Maryland)
The First Unitarian Church is a historic church and congregation at 12 West Franklin Street in Baltimore, Maryland. Dedicated in 1818, it was the first building; the church is a domed cube with a stucco exterior. The church called the "First Independent Church of Baltimore", is the oldest building continuously used by a Unitarian congregation; the name was changed in 1935 to "The First Unitarian Church of Baltimore" following the merger with the former Second Universalist Church at East Lanvale Street and Guilford Avenue in midtown Baltimore. The American Unitarian Association and the Universalist Church of America representing the two strains of Unitarian Universalism beliefs and philosophies merged as a national denomination named the Unitarian Universalist Association in May 1961; the church building was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1972. The building built in 1817 on a plot of land in Howards Woods purchased for $20,000, it was designed by J. Maximilian M. Godefroy, a French émigré who designed the St. Mary's Seminary Chapel on North Paca Street on the northwest edge of the City and the Battle Monument in the former Courthouse Square on North Calvert Street between East Lexington and Fayette Streets commemorating the Battle of Baltimore of September 1814 at North Point and the bombardment of Fort McHenry in the War of 1812, assisted the famed British-American architect Benjamin Henry Latrobe in designing the "Baltimore Merchants' Exchange" at South Gay Street, between Second and East Lombard Streets, the then-largest building n America, an'H'-shaped, low domed on a drum Greco-Roman structure with a large rotunda beneath and a second-story interior catwalk balcony around the atrium.
In its several wings were several Federal offices: the U. S. Courthouse, Post Office, Customs House, a branch of the Bank of the United States and early City Hall offices for Baltimore, various offices for lawyers/attorneys, insurance agents and shipping companies, steamship lines, various other maritime businesses. Poor acoustics under the central dome led to an 1893 interior renovation, in which architect Joseph Evans Sperry added a barrel vault under the dome; the church features stained glass from the studio of Louis Comfort Tiffany. The pipe organ is a Niemann instrument. In the rear, on the north side along the West Hamilton Street alley is the Enoch Pratt Parish Hall housing church offices, constructed in 1879 of bricks salvaged from the townhouses torn down at West Mulberry at Cathedral Street for the first Central Building of parishioner Enoch Pratt's gift to the City of Baltimore, of a central library and four regional branches in 1882, constructed and opened 1886; the Parish Hall was renamed to commemorate his influence and guidance in the early years in 2008 and its interior is being restored to its Victorian appearance.
A relief in the building's pediment was executed by Antonio Cappellano, who had executed the carvings on the Battle Monument. Deterioration caused it to be replaced with a replica in 1954; the building is significant in the history of Unitarianism as the site of William Ellery Channing's Baltimore Sermon of May 5, 1819, which laid the foundation for the Unitarian denomination. One block north of Benjamin Latrobe's Baltimore Cathedral, The First Unitarian Church is located in the Mount Vernon-Belvedere neighborhood north of downtown and was part of "Howard's Woods" on the estate north of old Baltimore Town of Col. John Eager Howard, commander of the "Maryland Line" regiment of the Continental Army in the American Revolution where the Washington Monument and its four square parks were laid out in 1821, two blocks north, his mansion "Belvidere" located at the current intersection of North Calvert and East Chase Streets, torn down in 1874 as the street was extended further north towards the city limits at Boundary Avenue (today's North Avenue and the community developed during the 1830s 40's and 50's by the sons of the colonel.
The First Unitarian Church is listed on the "National Register of Historic Places" on February 11, 1972 and designated a "National Historic Landmark" a week on February 20, 1972, maintained by the U. S. Department of the Interior and its National Park Service, it is included in the "Cathedral Hill Historic District" and the newly designated "Baltimore National Heritage Area". List of National Historic Landmarks in Maryland National Register of Historic Places listings in Central Baltimore First Unitarian Church, Baltimore City, including photo in 1978, at Maryland Historical Trust Historic American Buildings Survey No. MD-229, "First Unitarian Church, Franklin & Charles Streets, Independent City, MD", 12 photos, supplemental material History of the Church and Organs
A historian is a person who studies and writes about the past, is regarded as an authority on it. Historians are concerned with the continuous, methodical narrative and research of past events as relating to the human race. If the individual is concerned with events preceding written history, the individual is a historian of prehistory; some historians are recognized by training and experience. "Historian" became a professional occupation in the late nineteenth century as research universities were emerging in Germany and elsewhere. During the Irving v Penguin Books and Lipstadt trial, it became evident that the court needed to identify what was an "objective historian" in the same vein as the reasonable person, reminiscent of the standard traditionally used in English law of "the man on the Clapham omnibus"; this was necessary so that there would be a legal bench mark to compare and contrast the scholarship of an objective historian against the illegitimate methods employed by David Irving, as before the Irving v Penguin Books and Lipstadt trial, there was no legal precedent for what constituted an objective historian.
Justice Gray leant on the research of one of the expert witnesses, Richard J. Evans, who compared illegitimate distortion of the historical record practice by holocaust deniers with established historical methodologies. By summarizing Gray's judgement, in an article published in the Yale Law Journal, Wendie E. Schneider distils these seven points for what he meant by an objective historian: The historian must treat sources with appropriate reservations. Schneider uses the concept of the "objective historian" to suggest that this could be an aid in assessing what makes an historian suitable as an expert witnesses under the Daubert standard in the United States. Schneider proposed this, because, in her opinion, Irving could have passed the standard Daubert tests unless a court was given "a great deal of assistance from historians". Schneider proposes that by testing an historian against the criteria of the "objective historian" even if an historian holds specific political views, providing the historian uses the "objective historian" standards, he or she is a "conscientious historian".
It was Irving's failure as an "objective historian" not his right wing views that caused him to lose his libel case, as a "conscientious historian" would not have "deliberately misrepresented and manipulated historical evidence" to support his political views. The process of historical analysis involves investigation and analysis of competing ideas and purported facts to create coherent narratives that explain "what happened" and "why or how it happened". Modern historical analysis draws upon other social sciences, including economics, politics, anthropology and linguistics. While ancient writers do not share modern historical practices, their work remains valuable for its insights within the cultural context of the times. An important part of the contribution of many modern historians is the verification or dismissal of earlier historical accounts through reviewing newly discovered sources and recent scholarship or through parallel disciplines like archaeology. Understanding the past appears to be a universal human need, the telling of history has emerged independently in civilizations around the world.
What constitutes history is a philosophical question. The earliest chronologies date back to Mesopotamia and ancient Egypt, though no historical writers in these early civilizations were known by name. Systematic historical thought emerged in ancient Greece, a development that became an important influence on the writing of history elsewhere around the Mediterranean region; the earliest known critical historical works were The Histories, composed by Herodotus of Halicarnassus who became known as the "father of history". Herodotus attempted to distinguish between more and less reliable accounts, conducted research by travelling extensively, giving written accounts of various Mediterranean cultures. Although Herodotus' overall emphasis lay on the actions and characters of men, he attributed an important role to divinity in the determination of historical events. Thucydides eliminated divine causality in his account of the war between Athens and Sparta, establishing a rationalistic element that set a precedent for subsequent Western historical writings.
He was the first to distinguish between cause and immediate origins of an event, while his successor Xenophon introduced autobiographical elements and character studies in his Anabasis. The Romans adopted the Greek tradition. While early Roman works were still written in Greek, the Origines, composed by the Roman statesman Cato the Elder, was written in Latin, in a conscious effort to counteract Greek cultural influence. Strabo was an important exponent of the Greco-Roman tradition of combining geography with history, presenting a descriptive history of peoples and places known to his era. Livy (59 BCE
Paris is the capital and most populous city of France, with an area of 105 square kilometres and an official estimated population of 2,140,526 residents as of 1 January 2019. Since the 17th century, Paris has been one of Europe's major centres of finance, commerce, fashion and the arts; the City of Paris is the centre and seat of government of the Île-de-France, or Paris Region, which has an estimated official 2019 population of 12,213,364, or about 18 percent of the population of France. The Paris Region had a GDP of €681 billion in 2016, accounting for 31 percent of the GDP of France, was the 5th largest region by GDP in the world. According to the Economist Intelligence Unit Worldwide Cost of Living Survey in 2018, Paris was the second most expensive city in the world, after Singapore, ahead of Zurich, Hong Kong and Geneva. Another source ranked Paris as most expensive, on a par with Singapore and Hong-Kong, in 2018; the city is a major rail and air-transport hub served by two international airports: Paris-Charles de Gaulle and Paris-Orly.
Opened in 1900, the city's subway system, the Paris Métro, serves 5.23 million passengers daily, is the second busiest metro system in Europe after Moscow Metro. Gare du Nord is the 24th busiest railway station in the world, the first located outside Japan, with 262 million passengers in 2015. Paris is known for its museums and architectural landmarks: the Louvre was the most visited art museum in the world in 2018, with 10.2 million visitors. The Musée d'Orsay and Musée de l'Orangerie are noted for their collections of French Impressionist art, the Pompidou Centre Musée National d'Art Moderne has the largest collection of modern and contemporary art in Europe; the historical district along the Seine in the city centre is classified as a UNESCO Heritage Site. Popular landmarks in the centre of the city include the Cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris and the Gothic royal chapel of Sainte-Chapelle, both on the Île de la Cité. Paris received 23 million visitors in 2017, measured by hotel stays, with the largest numbers of foreign visitors coming from the United States, the UK, Germany and China.
It was ranked as the third most visited travel destination in the world in 2017, after Bangkok and London. The football club Paris Saint-Germain and the rugby union club Stade Français are based in Paris; the 80,000-seat Stade de France, built for the 1998 FIFA World Cup, is located just north of Paris in the neighbouring commune of Saint-Denis. Paris hosts the annual French Open Grand Slam tennis tournament on the red clay of Roland Garros. Paris will host the 2024 Summer Olympics; the 1938 and 1998 FIFA World Cups, the 2007 Rugby World Cup, the 1960, 1984, 2016 UEFA European Championships were held in the city and, every July, the Tour de France bicycle race finishes there. The name "Paris" is derived from the Celtic Parisii tribe; the city's name is not related to the Paris of Greek mythology. Paris is referred to as the City of Light, both because of its leading role during the Age of Enlightenment and more because Paris was one of the first large European cities to use gas street lighting on a grand scale on its boulevards and monuments.
Gas lights were installed on the Place du Carousel, Rue de Rivoli and Place Vendome in 1829. By 1857, the Grand boulevards were lit. By the 1860s, the boulevards and streets of Paris were illuminated by 56,000 gas lamps. Since the late 19th century, Paris has been known as Panam in French slang. Inhabitants are known in French as Parisiens, they are pejoratively called Parigots. The Parisii, a sub-tribe of the Celtic Senones, inhabited the Paris area from around the middle of the 3rd century BC. One of the area's major north–south trade routes crossed the Seine on the île de la Cité; the Parisii minted their own coins for that purpose. The Romans began their settlement on Paris' Left Bank; the Roman town was called Lutetia. It became a prosperous city with a forum, temples, an amphitheatre. By the end of the Western Roman Empire, the town was known as Parisius, a Latin name that would become Paris in French. Christianity was introduced in the middle of the 3rd century AD by Saint Denis, the first Bishop of Paris: according to legend, when he refused to renounce his faith before the Roman occupiers, he was beheaded on the hill which became known as Mons Martyrum "Montmartre", from where he walked headless to the north of the city.
Clovis the Frank, the first king of the Merovingian dynasty, made the city his capital from 508. As the Frankish domination of Gaul began, there was a gradual immigration by the Franks to Paris and the Parisian Francien dialects were born. Fortification of the Île-de-la-Citie failed to avert sacking by Vikings in 845, but Paris' strategic importance—with its bridges prevent
Mathematics includes the study of such topics as quantity, structure and change. Mathematicians use patterns to formulate new conjectures; when mathematical structures are good models of real phenomena mathematical reasoning can provide insight or predictions about nature. Through the use of abstraction and logic, mathematics developed from counting, calculation and the systematic study of the shapes and motions of physical objects. Practical mathematics has been a human activity from as far back; the research required to solve mathematical problems can take years or centuries of sustained inquiry. Rigorous arguments first appeared in Greek mathematics, most notably in Euclid's Elements. Since the pioneering work of Giuseppe Peano, David Hilbert, others on axiomatic systems in the late 19th century, it has become customary to view mathematical research as establishing truth by rigorous deduction from appropriately chosen axioms and definitions. Mathematics developed at a slow pace until the Renaissance, when mathematical innovations interacting with new scientific discoveries led to a rapid increase in the rate of mathematical discovery that has continued to the present day.
Mathematics is essential in many fields, including natural science, medicine and the social sciences. Applied mathematics has led to new mathematical disciplines, such as statistics and game theory. Mathematicians engage in pure mathematics without having any application in mind, but practical applications for what began as pure mathematics are discovered later; the history of mathematics can be seen as an ever-increasing series of abstractions. The first abstraction, shared by many animals, was that of numbers: the realization that a collection of two apples and a collection of two oranges have something in common, namely quantity of their members; as evidenced by tallies found on bone, in addition to recognizing how to count physical objects, prehistoric peoples may have recognized how to count abstract quantities, like time – days, years. Evidence for more complex mathematics does not appear until around 3000 BC, when the Babylonians and Egyptians began using arithmetic and geometry for taxation and other financial calculations, for building and construction, for astronomy.
The most ancient mathematical texts from Mesopotamia and Egypt are from 2000–1800 BC. Many early texts mention Pythagorean triples and so, by inference, the Pythagorean theorem seems to be the most ancient and widespread mathematical development after basic arithmetic and geometry, it is in Babylonian mathematics that elementary arithmetic first appear in the archaeological record. The Babylonians possessed a place-value system, used a sexagesimal numeral system, still in use today for measuring angles and time. Beginning in the 6th century BC with the Pythagoreans, the Ancient Greeks began a systematic study of mathematics as a subject in its own right with Greek mathematics. Around 300 BC, Euclid introduced the axiomatic method still used in mathematics today, consisting of definition, axiom and proof, his textbook Elements is considered the most successful and influential textbook of all time. The greatest mathematician of antiquity is held to be Archimedes of Syracuse, he developed formulas for calculating the surface area and volume of solids of revolution and used the method of exhaustion to calculate the area under the arc of a parabola with the summation of an infinite series, in a manner not too dissimilar from modern calculus.
Other notable achievements of Greek mathematics are conic sections, trigonometry (Hipparchus of Nicaea, the beginnings of algebra. The Hindu–Arabic numeral system and the rules for the use of its operations, in use throughout the world today, evolved over the course of the first millennium AD in India and were transmitted to the Western world via Islamic mathematics. Other notable developments of Indian mathematics include the modern definition of sine and cosine, an early form of infinite series. During the Golden Age of Islam during the 9th and 10th centuries, mathematics saw many important innovations building on Greek mathematics; the most notable achievement of Islamic mathematics was the development of algebra. Other notable achievements of the Islamic period are advances in spherical trigonometry and the addition of the decimal point to the Arabic numeral system. Many notable mathematicians from this period were Persian, such as Al-Khwarismi, Omar Khayyam and Sharaf al-Dīn al-Ṭūsī. During the early modern period, mathematics began to develop at an accelerating pace in Western Europe.
The development of calculus by Newton and Leibniz in the 17th century revolutionized mathematics. Leonhard Euler was the most notable mathematician of the 18th century, contributing numerous theorems and discoveries; the foremost mathematician of the 19th century was the German mathematician Carl Friedrich Gauss, who made numerous contributions to fields such as algebra, differential geometry, matrix theory, number theory, statistics. In the early 20th century, Kurt Gödel transformed mathematics by publishing his incompleteness theorems, which show that any axiomatic system, consistent will contain unprovable propositions. Mathematics has since been extended, there has been a fruitful interaction between mathematics and science, to
United States Congress
The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the Federal Government of the United States. The legislature consists of two chambers: the House of the Senate; the Congress meets in the United States Capitol in Washington, D. C.. Both senators and representatives are chosen through direct election, though vacancies in the Senate may be filled by a gubernatorial appointment. Congress has 535 voting members: 100 senators; the House of Representatives has six non-voting members representing Puerto Rico, American Samoa, the Northern Mariana Islands, the U. S. Virgin Islands, the District of Columbia in addition to its 435 voting members. Although they cannot vote in the full house, these members can address the house and vote in congressional committees, introduce legislation; the members of the House of Representatives serve two-year terms representing the people of a single constituency, known as a "district". Congressional districts are apportioned to states by population using the United States Census results, provided that each state has at least one congressional representative.
Each state, regardless of population or size, has two senators. There are 100 senators representing the 50 states; each senator is elected at-large in their state for a six-year term, with terms staggered, so every two years one-third of the Senate is up for election. To be eligible for election, a candidate must be aged at least 25 or 30, have been a citizen of the United States for seven or nine years, be an inhabitant of the state which they represent; the Congress was created by the Constitution of the United States and first met in 1789, replacing in its legislative function the Congress of the Confederation. Although not mandated, in practice since the 19th century, Congress members are affiliated with the Republican Party or with the Democratic Party and only with a third party or independents. Article One of the United States Constitution states, "All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives."
The House and Senate are equal partners in the legislative process—legislation cannot be enacted without the consent of both chambers. However, the Constitution grants each chamber some unique powers; the Senate ratifies treaties and approves presidential appointments while the House initiates revenue-raising bills. The House initiates impeachment cases. A two-thirds vote of the Senate is required before an impeached person can be forcibly removed from office; the term Congress can refer to a particular meeting of the legislature. A Congress covers two years; the Congress ends on the third day of January of every odd-numbered year. Members of the Senate are referred to as senators. Scholar and representative Lee H. Hamilton asserted that the "historic mission of Congress has been to maintain freedom" and insisted it was a "driving force in American government" and a "remarkably resilient institution". Congress is the "heart and soul of our democracy", according to this view though legislators achieve the prestige or name recognition of presidents or Supreme Court justices.
One analyst argues that it is not a reactive institution but has played an active role in shaping government policy and is extraordinarily sensitive to public pressure. Several academics described Congress: Congress reflects us in all our strengths and all our weaknesses, it reflects our regional idiosyncrasies, our ethnic and racial diversity, our multitude of professions, our shadings of opinion on everything from the value of war to the war over values. Congress is the government's most representative body... Congress is charged with reconciling our many points of view on the great public policy issues of the day. Congress is changing and is in flux. In recent times, the American south and west have gained House seats according to demographic changes recorded by the census and includes more minorities and women although both groups are still underrepresented. While power balances among the different parts of government continue to change, the internal structure of Congress is important to understand along with its interactions with so-called intermediary institutions such as political parties, civic associations, interest groups, the mass media.
The Congress of the United States serves two distinct purposes that overlap: local representation to the federal government of a congressional district by representatives and a state's at-large representation to the federal government by senators. Most incumbents seek re-election, their historical likelihood of winning subsequent elections exceeds 90 percent; the historical records of the House of Representatives and the Senate are maintained by the Center for Legislative Archives, a part of the National Archives and Records Administration. Congress is directly responsible for the governing of the District of Columbia, the current seat of the federal government; the First Continental Congress was a gathering of representatives from twelve of the thirteen British Colonies in North America. On July 4, 1776, the Second Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence, referring to the new nation as the "United States of America"; the Articles of Confederation in 1781 created the Congress of the Confederation, a