House and Senate: What’s the Difference?

The United States Congress consists of two legislative bodies, the House of Representatives and the Senate. There are many similarities between these institutions. Representatives and Senators are directly elected by the public (see Capitol Visitor Center essay “Who Elects Our Senators?”). Passing legislation requires the agreement of both the House and Senate. There are chambers for both in the U.S. Capitol. Given these commonalities, are there really differences between the House and Senate?

How Your State Gets Its Seats – Congressional Apportionment

The United States Senate consists of how many members? The answer is fairly simple: with two members apiece representing each of the fifty states, the total is one hundred. How about the House of Representatives? The answer is much more complicated. There are currently 435 voting members of the House of Representatives. How did this number come about and how is the number of Representatives per state determined?

Who Elects Our Senators

United States senators have been elected directly by voters since 1913. Prior to that time, state legislatures chose the state’s senators. In the mid-1850s, however, the state legislature selection process began to fail due to political infighting and corruption. Often Senate seats were left vacant for long periods of time while state legislatures debated who to send to the Senate.

How House and Senate Committees Work

Committees improve the organization of the Senate and House of Representatives. Members of Congress can’t be experts on all issues. For this reason, the Senate and House of Representatives developed committees that focus on particular subjects. Committees look at the way that government functions; identify issues that require review; gather and evaluate information; and make legislative
recommendations to the full House or Senate.

Learn About Black History, Culture and Politics

Learn about Black history in the United States before and after the Civil War; the Civil Rights Movement; the history of Africa; African American art; and African American trailblazers.

George Washington’s Rules of Civility in the Age of COVID-19

In 1745, a young George Washington copied down a set of rules in his workbook. His aim was to learn how to properly conduct himself in society. He took his examples from the writings of a 16th-century Jesuit priest. The rules Washington recorded still resonate today as we learn how to navigate the health crisis the world is now facing while trying to maintain civil behavior.

Defining Classroom Citizenship

The founders understood that, in order to preserve their liberty and happiness, and that of future generations, the foundation of successful self-government was citizens who understood and applied certain virtues. They constructed the U.S. Constitution according to their study of the principles and virtues that were most necessary to sustain a free, prosperous, and orderly society. This lesson is ideal for the first day of school.

Interactive Constitution: Eighth Amendment (Middle Level)

This lesson introduces students to different viewpoints and debates surrounding the 8th Amendment by using the National Constitution Center’s Interactive Constitution. Students will build understanding of the resources and methods used by justices on the Supreme Court and Constitutional scholars when analyzing and forming opinions about articles, sections, and clauses of the Constitution.