American Library Association
The American Library Association is a nonprofit organization based in the United States that promotes libraries and library education internationally. It is the oldest and largest library association with more than 57,000 members. Founded by Justin Winsor, Charles Ammi Cutter, Samuel S. Green, James L. Whitney, Melvil Dewey, Fred B. Perkins, Charles Evans, Thomas W. Bicknell on October 6, 1876 during the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia and chartered in 1879 in Massachusetts, its head office is now in Chicago. During the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia in 1876, 103 librarians, 90 men and 13 women, responded to a call for a "Convention of Librarians" to be held October 4–6 at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. At the end of the meeting, according to Ed Holley in his essay "ALA at 100," "the register was passed around for all to sign who wished to become charter members," making October 6, 1876, to be ALA's birthday. In attendance were 90 men and 13 women, among them Justin Winsor, William Frederick Poole, Charles Ammi Cutter, Melvil Dewey, Richard Rogers Bowker.
Attendees came from as far west from England. The aim of the association, in that resolution, was "to enable librarians to do their present work more and at less expense." The association has worked throughout its history to define, extend and advocate for equity of access to information. Library activists in the 1930s pressured the American Library Association to be more responsive to issues put forth by young members involved with issues such as peace, library unions and intellectual freedom. In 1931, the Junior Members Round Table was formed to provide a voice for the younger members of the ALA, but much of what they had to say resurfaced in the social responsibility movement to come years later. During this period, the first Library Bill of Rights was drafted by Forrest Spaulding to set a standard against censorship and was adopted by the ALA in 1939; this has been recognized as the moment defining modern librarianship as a profession committed to intellectual freedom and the right to read over government dictates.
The ALA formed the Staff Organization's Round Table in 1936 and the Library Unions Round Table in 1940. The ALA appointed a committee to study censorship and recommend policy after the banning of The Grapes of Wrath and the implementation of the LBR; the committee reported in 1940 that intellectual freedom and professionalism were linked and recommended a permanent committee – Committee on Intellectual Freedom. The ALA made revisions to strengthen the LBR in June 1948, approved the Statement on Labeling in 1951 to discourage labeling material as subversive, adopted the Freedom to Read Statement and the Overseas Library Statement in 1953. In 1961, the ALA took a stand regarding service to African Americans and others, advocating for equal library service for all. An amendment was passed to the LBR in 1961 that made clear that an individual's library use should not be denied or abridged because of race, national origin, or political views; some communities decided to close their doors rather than desegregate.
In 1963, the ALA commissioned a study, Access to Public Libraries, which found direct and indirect discrimination in American libraries. In 1967, some librarians protested against a pro-Vietnam War speech given by General Maxwell D. Taylor at the annual ALA conference in San Francisco; this group called themselves the Organizing Committee for the ALA Round Table on Social Responsibilities of Libraries. This group drew in many other under-represented groups in the ALA who lacked power, including the Congress for Change in 1969; this formation of the committee was approved in 1969 and would change its name to the Social Responsibilities Round Table in 1971). After its inception, the Round Table of Social Responsibilities began to press ALA leadership to address issues such as library unions, working conditions and intellectual freedom; the Freedom to Read Foundation was created by ALA's Executive Board in 1969. The Black Caucus of the ALA and the Office for Literacy and Outreach were set up in 1970.
In June 1990, the ALA approved "Policy on Library Services to the Poor" and in 1996 the Task Force on Hunger Homelessness, Poverty was formed to resurrect and promote the ALA guidelines on library services to the poor. In 2014, Courtney Young, the president of the association, commented on the background and implications of a racist joke author Daniel Handler made as African-American writer Jacqueline Woodson received a National Book Award for Brown Girl Dreaming. "His comments were inappropriate and fell far short of the association's commitment to diversity," said Young. "Handler's remarks come at a time. Works from authors and illustrators of color make up less than 8 percent of children's titles produced in 2013; the ALA hopes this regrettable incident will be used to open a dialogue on the need for diversity in the publishing industry in regards to books for young people."The ALA Archives, including historical documents, non-current records, digital records, are held at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign archives.
ALA membership is open to any person or organization, though most of its members are libraries or librarians. Most members live and
Library of Congress
The Library of Congress is the research library that serves the United States Congress and is the de facto national library of the United States. It is the oldest federal cultural institution in the United States; the Library is housed in three buildings on Capitol Hill in Washington, D. C.. The Library's functions are overseen by the Librarian of Congress, its buildings are maintained by the Architect of the Capitol; the Library of Congress has claimed to be the largest library in the world. Its "collections are universal, not limited by subject, format, or national boundary, include research materials from all parts of the world and in more than 450 languages."The Library of Congress moved to Washington in 1800 after sitting for 11 years in the temporary national capitals in New York City and Philadelphia. The small Congressional Library was housed in the United States Capitol for most of the 19th century until the early 1890s. Most of the original collection had been destroyed by the British in 1814 during the War of 1812, the library sought to restore its collection in 1815.
They bought Thomas Jefferson's entire personal collection of 6,487 books. After a period of slow growth, another fire struck the Library in its Capitol chambers in 1851, again destroying a large amount of the collection, including many of Jefferson's books. After the American Civil War, the Library of Congress grew in both size and importance, which sparked a campaign to purchase replacement copies for volumes, burned; the Library received the right of transference of all copyrighted works to deposit two copies of books, maps and diagrams printed in the United States. It began to build its collections, its development culminated between 1888 and 1894 with the construction of a separate, extensive library building across the street from the Capitol; the Library's primary mission is to research inquiries made by members of Congress, carried out through the Congressional Research Service. The Library is open to the public, although only high-ranking government officials and Library employees may check out books and materials.
James Madison is credited with the idea of creating a congressional library, first making such a proposition in 1783. The Library of Congress was subsequently established April 24, 1800 when President John Adams signed an act of Congress providing for the transfer of the seat of government from Philadelphia to the new capital city of Washington. Part of the legislation appropriated $5,000 "for the purchase of such books as may be necessary for the use of Congress... and for fitting up a suitable apartment for containing them." Books were ordered from London, the collection consisted of 740 books and three maps which were housed in the new United States Capitol. President Thomas Jefferson played an important role in establishing the structure of the Library of Congress. On January 26, 1802, he signed a bill that allowed the president to appoint the Librarian of Congress and establishing a Joint Committee on the Library to regulate and oversee it; the new law extended borrowing privileges to the President and Vice President.
The invading British army burned Washington in August 1814 during the War of 1812 and destroyed the Library of Congress and its collection of 3,000 volumes. These volumes had been left in the Senate wing of the Capitol. One of the few congressional volumes to survive was a government account book of receipts and expenditures for 1810, it was taken as a souvenir by British Admiral George Cockburn, whose family returned it to the United States government in 1940. Within a month, Thomas Jefferson offered to sell his personal library as a replacement. Congress accepted his offer in January 1815; some members of the House of Representatives opposed the outright purchase, including New Hampshire Representative Daniel Webster who wanted to return "all books of an atheistical and immoral tendency." Jefferson had spent 50 years accumulating a wide variety of books in several languages and on subjects such as philosophy, law, architecture, natural sciences, studies of classical Greece and Rome, modern inventions, hot air balloons, submarines, fossils and meteorology.
He had collected books on topics not viewed as part of a legislative library, such as cookbooks. However, he believed, he remarked: I do not know that it contains any branch of science which Congress would wish to exclude from their collection. Jefferson's collection was unique in that it was the working collection of a scholar, not a gentleman's collection for display. With the addition of his collection, the Library of Congress was transformed from a specialist's library to a more general one, his original collection was organized into a scheme based on Francis Bacon's organization of knowledge. He grouped his books into Memory and Imagination, which broke down into 44 more subdivisions; the Library followed Jefferson's organization scheme until the late 19th century, when librarian Herbert Putnam began work on a more flexible Library of Congress Classification structure that now applies to more than 138 million items. In 1851, a fire destroyed two thirds of the Jefferson collection, with only 2,000 books remaining.
By 2008, the Librarians of Congress had found replacements for all but 300 of the works that were in Jefferson's original collection. On December 22, 1851 the largest fire in the Library's history destroyed 35,000 books, about two–thi
Copyright is a legal right, existing in many countries, that grants the creator of an original work exclusive rights to determine whether, under what conditions, this original work may be used by others. This is only for a limited time. Copyright is one of two types of intellectual property rights, the other is industrial property rights; the exclusive rights are not absolute but limited by limitations and exceptions to copyright law, including fair use. A major limitation on copyright on ideas is that copyright protects only the original expression of ideas, not the underlying ideas themselves. Copyright is applicable to certain forms of creative work. Some, but not all jurisdictions require "fixing" copyrighted works in a tangible form, it is shared among multiple authors, each of whom holds a set of rights to use or license the work, who are referred to as rights holders. These rights include reproduction, control over derivative works, public performance, moral rights such as attribution. Copyrights can be granted by public law and are in that case considered "territorial rights".
This means that copyrights granted by the law of a certain state, do not extend beyond the territory of that specific jurisdiction. Copyrights of this type vary by country; the public law duration of a copyright expires 50 to 100 years after the creator dies, depending on the jurisdiction. Some countries require certain copyright formalities to establishing copyright, others recognize copyright in any completed work, without formal registration. Copyright is enforced as a civil matter, though some jurisdictions do apply criminal sanctions. Most jurisdictions recognize copyright limitations, allowing "fair" exceptions to the creator's exclusivity of copyright and giving users certain rights; the development of digital media and computer network technologies have prompted reinterpretation of these exceptions, introduced new difficulties in enforcing copyright, inspired additional challenges to the philosophical basis of copyright law. Businesses with great economic dependence upon copyright, such as those in the music business, have advocated the extension and expansion of copyright and sought additional legal and technological enforcement.
Copyright licenses can be granted by those deputized by the original claimant, private companies may request this as a condition of doing business with them. Services of internet platform providers like YouTube, GitHub, DropBox, WhatsApp or Twitter only can be used when users grant the platform provider beforehand the right to co-use all uploaded content, including all material exchanged per email, chat or cloud-storage; these copyrights only apply for the firm that operates such a platform, no matter in what jurisdiction the platform-services are being offered. Private companies in general do not recognize exceptions or give users more rights than the right to use the platform according certain rules. Copyright came about with wider literacy; as a legal concept, its origins in Britain were from a reaction to printers' monopolies at the beginning of the 18th century. The English Parliament was concerned about the unregulated copying of books and passed the Licensing of the Press Act 1662, which established a register of licensed books and required a copy to be deposited with the Stationers' Company continuing the licensing of material that had long been in effect.
Copyright laws allow products of creative human activities, such as literary and artistic production, to be preferentially exploited and thus incentivized. Different cultural attitudes, social organizations, economic models and legal frameworks are seen to account for why copyright emerged in Europe and not, for example, in Asia. In the Middle Ages in Europe, there was a lack of any concept of literary property due to the general relations of production, the specific organization of literary production and the role of culture in society; the latter refers to the tendency of oral societies, such as that of Europe in the medieval period, to view knowledge as the product and expression of the collective, rather than to see it as individual property. However, with copyright laws, intellectual production comes to be seen as a product of an individual, with attendant rights; the most significant point is that patent and copyright laws support the expansion of the range of creative human activities that can be commodified.
This parallels the ways in which capitalism led to the commodification of many aspects of social life that earlier had no monetary or economic value per se. Copyright has grown from a legal concept regulating copying rights in the publishing of books and maps to one with a significant effect on nearly every modern industry, covering such items as sound recordings, photographs and architectural works. Seen as the first real copyright law, the 1709 British Statute of Anne gave the publishers rights for a fixed period, after which the copyright expired; the act alluded to individual rights of the artist. It began, "Whereas Printers and other Persons, have of late taken the Liberty of Printing... Books, other Writings, without the Consent of the Authors... to their great Detriment, too to the Ruin of them and their Families:". A right to benefit financially from the work is articulated, court rulings and legislation have recognized a right to control the work, such as ensuring that the integrity of it is preserved.
John Adams was an American statesman, diplomat and Founding Father who served as the second president of the United States from 1797 to 1801. Before his presidency he was a leader of the American Revolution that achieved independence from Great Britain, served as the first vice president of the United States. Adams was a dedicated diarist and corresponded with many important figures in early American history including his wife and adviser and his letters and other papers are an important source of historical information about the era. A lawyer and political activist prior to the revolution, Adams was devoted to the right to counsel and presumption of innocence, he defied anti-British sentiment and defended British soldiers against murder charges arising from the Boston Massacre. Adams was a Massachusetts delegate to the Continental Congress and became a principal leader of the Revolution, he assisted in drafting the Declaration of Independence in 1776 and was its foremost advocate in Congress.
As a diplomat in Europe, he helped negotiate the peace treaty with Great Britain and secured vital governmental loans. Adams was the primary author of the Massachusetts Constitution in 1780, which influenced the United States' own constitution, as did his earlier Thoughts on Government. Adams was elected to two terms as vice president under President George Washington and was elected as the United States' second president in 1796. During his single term, Adams encountered fierce criticism from the Jeffersonian Republicans and from some in his own Federalist Party, led by his rival Alexander Hamilton. Adams signed the controversial Alien and Sedition Acts and built up the Army and Navy in the undeclared "Quasi-War" with France; the main accomplishment of his presidency was a peaceful resolution of this conflict in the face of public anger and Hamilton's opposition. During his term, he became the first president to reside in the executive mansion now known as the White House. In his bid for reelection, opposition from Federalists and accusations of despotism from Republicans led to Adams's loss to his former friend Thomas Jefferson, he retired to Massachusetts.
He resumed his friendship with Jefferson by initiating a correspondence that lasted fourteen years. He and his wife generated a family of politicians and historians now referred to as the Adams political family, which includes their son John Quincy Adams, the sixth president of the United States. John Adams died on the fiftieth anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, hours after Jefferson's death. Surveys of historians and scholars have favorably ranked his administration. John Adams was born on October 1735 to John Adams Sr. and Susanna Boylston. He had two younger brothers and Elihu. Adams was born on the family farm in Massachusetts, his mother was from a leading medical family of Massachusetts. His father was a deacon in the Congregational Church, a farmer, a cordwainer, a lieutenant in the militia. John Sr. supervised the building of schools and roads. Adams praised his father and recalled their close relationship. Adams's great-grandfather Henry Adams emigrated to Massachusetts from Braintree, England around 1638.
Though raised in modest surroundings, Adams felt pressured to live up to his heritage. His was a family of Puritans, who profoundly affected their region's culture and traditions. By the time of John Adams's birth, Puritan tenets such as predestination had waned and many of their severe practices moderated, but Adams still "considered them bearers of freedom, a cause that still had a holy urgency." Adams recalled that his parents "held every Species of Libertinage in... Contempt and horror," and detailed "pictures of disgrace, or baseness and of Ruin" resulting from any debauchery. Adams noted that "As a child I enjoyed the greatest of blessings that can be bestowed upon men – that of a mother, anxious and capable to form the characters of her children."Adams, as the eldest child, was compelled to obtain a formal education. This began at age six at a dame school for boys and girls, conducted at a teacher's home, was centred upon The New England Primer. Shortly thereafter, Adams attended Braintree Latin School under Joseph Cleverly, where studies included Latin, rhetoric and arithmetic.
Adams's early education included incidents of truancy, a dislike for his master, a desire to become a farmer. All discussion on the matter ended with his father's command that he remain in school: "You shall comply with my desires." Deacon Adams hired a new schoolmaster named Joseph Marsh, his son responded positively. At age sixteen, Adams entered Harvard College in 1751; as an adult, Adams was a keen scholar, studying the works of ancient writers such as Thucydides, Plato and Tacitus in their original languages. Though his father expected him to be a minister, after his 1755 graduation with an A. B. degree, he taught school while pondering his permanent vocation. In the next four years, he began to seek prestige, craving "Honour or Reputation" and "more defference from fellows", was determined to be "a great Man." He decided to become a lawyer to further those ends, writing his father that he found among lawyers "noble and gallant achievements" but, among the clergy, the "pretended sanctity of some absolute dunces."
His aspirations conflicted with his Puritanism, prompting reservations about his self-described "trumpery" and failure to share the "happiness of fellow men."As the French and Indian War began in 1754, Ada
Thomas Jefferson was an American statesman, lawyer and Founding Father who served as the third president of the United States from 1801 to 1809. He had served as the second vice president of the United States from 1797 to 1801; the principal author of the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson was a proponent of democracy and individual rights motivating American colonists to break from the Kingdom of Great Britain and form a new nation. Jefferson was of English ancestry and educated in colonial Virginia, he graduated from the College of William & Mary and practiced law, with the largest number of his cases concerning land ownership claims. During the American Revolution, he represented Virginia in the Continental Congress that adopted the Declaration, drafted the law for religious freedom as a Virginia legislator, served as the 2nd Governor of Virginia from 1779 to 1781, during the American Revolutionary War, he became the United States Minister to France in May 1785, subsequently the nation's first secretary of state under President George Washington from 1790 to 1793.
Jefferson and James Madison organized the Democratic-Republican Party to oppose the Federalist Party during the formation of the First Party System. With Madison, he anonymously wrote the controversial Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions in 1798 and 1799, which sought to strengthen states' rights by nullifying the federal Alien and Sedition Acts; as president, Jefferson pursued the nation's shipping and trade interests against Barbary pirates and aggressive British trade policies. He organized the Louisiana Purchase doubling the country's territory; as a result of peace negotiations with France, his administration reduced military forces. He was reelected in 1804. Jefferson's second term was beset with difficulties at home, including the trial of former vice president Aaron Burr. American foreign trade was diminished when Jefferson implemented the Embargo Act of 1807, responding to British threats to U. S. shipping. In 1803, Jefferson began a controversial process of Indian tribe removal to the newly organized Louisiana Territory, he signed the Act Prohibiting Importation of Slaves in 1807.
Jefferson, while a planter and politician, mastered many disciplines, which ranged from surveying and mathematics to horticulture and mechanics. He was an architect in the classical tradition. Jefferson's keen interest in religion and philosophy led to his presidency of the American Philosophical Society. A philologist, Jefferson knew several languages, he corresponded with many prominent people. His only full-length book is Notes on the State of Virginia, considered the most important American book published before 1800. After retiring from public office, Jefferson founded the University of Virginia. Although regarded as a leading spokesman for democracy and republicanism in the era of the Enlightenment, Jefferson's historical legacy is mixed; some modern scholarship has been critical of Jefferson's private life, pointing out the contradiction between his ownership of the large numbers of slaves that worked his plantations and his famous declaration that "all men are created equal." Another point of controversy stems from the evidence that after his wife Martha died in 1782, Jefferson fathered children with Martha's half-sister, Sally Hemings, his slave.
Despite this, presidential scholars and historians praise his public achievements, including his advocacy of religious freedom and tolerance in Virginia. Jefferson continues to rank among U. S. presidents. Thomas Jefferson was born on April 13, 1743, at the family home in Shadwell in the Colony of Virginia, the third of ten children, he was of English, Welsh and was born a British subject. His father Peter Jefferson was a surveyor who died when Jefferson was fourteen. Peter Jefferson moved his family to Tuckahoe Plantation in 1745 upon the death of William Randolph, the plantation's owner and Jefferson's friend, who in his will had named him guardian of his children; the Jeffersons returned to Shadwell in 1752, where Peter died in 1757. Thomas inherited 5,000 acres of land, including Monticello, he assumed full authority over his property at age 21. Jefferson began his childhood education beside the Randolph children with tutors at Tuckahoe. Thomas' father, was self-taught, regretting not having a formal education, he entered Thomas into an English school early, at age five.
In 1752, at age nine, he began attending a local school run by a Scottish Presbyterian minister and began studying the natural world, for which he grew to love. At this time he began studying Latin and French, while learning to ride horses. Thomas read books from his father's modest library, he was taught from 1758 to 1760 by Reverend James Maury near Gordonsville, where he studied history and the classics while boarding with Maury's family. During this period Jefferson came to know and befriended various American Indians, including the famous Cherokee chief, who stopped at Shadwell to visit, on their way to Williamsburg to trade. During the two years Jefferson was with the Maury family, he traveled to Williamsburg and was a guest of Colonel Dandridge, father of Martha Washington. In Williamsburg the young Jefferson met and came to admire Patrick Henry, eight ye
United States dollar
The United States dollar is the official currency of the United States and its territories per the United States Constitution since 1792. In practice, the dollar is divided into 100 smaller cent units, but is divided into 1000 mills for accounting; the circulating paper money consists of Federal Reserve Notes that are denominated in United States dollars. Since the suspension in 1971 of convertibility of paper U. S. currency into any precious metal, the U. S. dollar is, de facto, fiat money. As it is the most used in international transactions, the U. S. dollar is the world's primary reserve currency. Several countries use it as their official currency, in many others it is the de facto currency. Besides the United States, it is used as the sole currency in two British Overseas Territories in the Caribbean: the British Virgin Islands and Turks and Caicos Islands. A few countries use the Federal Reserve Notes for paper money, while still minting their own coins, or accept U. S. dollar coins. As of June 27, 2018, there are $1.67 trillion in circulation, of which $1.62 trillion is in Federal Reserve notes.
Article I, Section 8 of the U. S. Constitution provides that the Congress has the power "To coin money". Laws implementing this power are codified at 31 U. S. C. § 5112. Section 5112 prescribes the forms; these coins are both designated in Section 5112 as "legal tender" in payment of debts. The Sacagawea dollar is one example of the copper alloy dollar; the pure silver dollar is known as the American Silver Eagle. Section 5112 provides for the minting and issuance of other coins, which have values ranging from one cent to 100 dollars; these other coins are more described in Coins of the United States dollar. The Constitution provides that "a regular Statement and Account of the Receipts and Expenditures of all public Money shall be published from time to time"; that provision of the Constitution is made specific by Section 331 of Title 31 of the United States Code. The sums of money reported in the "Statements" are being expressed in U. S. dollars. The U. S. dollar may therefore be described as the unit of account of the United States.
The word "dollar" is one of the words in the first paragraph of Section 9 of Article I of the Constitution. There, "dollars" is a reference to the Spanish milled dollar, a coin that had a monetary value of 8 Spanish units of currency, or reales. In 1792 the U. S. Congress passed a Coinage Act. Section 9 of that act authorized the production of various coins, including "DOLLARS OR UNITS—each to be of the value of a Spanish milled dollar as the same is now current, to contain three hundred and seventy-one grains and four sixteenth parts of a grain of pure, or four hundred and sixteen grains of standard silver". Section 20 of the act provided, "That the money of account of the United States shall be expressed in dollars, or units... and that all accounts in the public offices and all proceedings in the courts of the United States shall be kept and had in conformity to this regulation". In other words, this act designated the United States dollar as the unit of currency of the United States. Unlike the Spanish milled dollar, the U.
S. dollar is based upon a decimal system of values. In addition to the dollar the coinage act established monetary units of mill or one-thousandth of a dollar, cent or one-hundredth of a dollar, dime or one-tenth of a dollar, eagle or ten dollars, with prescribed weights and composition of gold, silver, or copper for each, it was proposed in the mid-1800s that one hundred dollars be known as a union, but no union coins were struck and only patterns for the $50 half union exist. However, only cents are in everyday use as divisions of the dollar. XX9 per gallon, e.g. $3.599, more written as $3.599⁄10. When issued in circulating form, denominations equal to or less than a dollar are emitted as U. S. coins while denominations equal to or greater than a dollar are emitted as Federal Reserve notes. Both one-dollar coins and notes are produced today, although the note form is more common. In the past, "paper money" was issued in denominations less than a dollar and gold coins were issued for circulation up to the value of $20.
The term eagle was used in the Coinage Act of 1792 for the denomination of ten dollars, subsequently was used in naming gold coins. Paper currency less than one dollar in denomination, known as "fractional currency", was sometimes pejoratively referred to as "shinplasters". In 1854, James Guthrie Secretary of the Treasury, proposed creating $100, $50 and $25 gold coins, which were referred to as a "Union", "Half Union", "Quarter Union", thus implying a denomination of 1 Union = $100. Today, USD notes are made from cotton fiber paper, unlike most common paper, made of wood fiber. U. S. coins are produced by the United States Mint. U. S. dollar banknotes are printed by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing and, since 1914, have been issued by t
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