Essay Schedule – Fire on the Floor: The Rules, Conflict, and Debate that Fuel the United States Congress

INTRODUCTION
Day 1 – Introduction: The United States Congress And Its Place In Constitutional Government – Guest Essayist: Professor William Morrisey

Day 2 – Introduction Part 2: The United States Congress Today – Guest Essayist: Professor William Morrisey

CONGRESS: THE LEGISLATIVE BRANCH (February 21-March 9)
Day 3 – Beginnings of The United States Congress as the Legislative Branch – How and Where Congress Began Meeting, Purpose and Founders’ Vision for a Bicameral Congress – Guest Essayist: Tony Williams

Day 4 – Beginnings of The United States Congress as the Legislative Branch Part II – How and Where Congress Began Meeting, Purpose and Founders’ Vision for a Bicameral Congress – Guest Essayist: Marc Clauson

Day 5 – House History – Purpose of the United States House of Representatives as the immediate will of the people and how it differs from the Senate – Guest Essayist: Scot Faulkner

Day 6 – Senate History – Purpose of the United States Senate, known as the upper house, the “cooling factor” or “sober, second thought” as it relates to the United States House of Representatives – Guest Essayists: James Legee

Day 7 – The First Congress meets March 4, 1789, in New York City with a new Constitution in effect during the first Congress of the United States: From 1789 to today; How, when and why Congress convenes – Guest Essayist: Tony Williams

Day 8 – Legislative Branch – Of the three branches of American government: Legislative, Executive, and Judicial as established in the United States Constitution, the most important, Legislative, the branch of the people whose primary role is lawmaking – Guest Essayist: James Legee

Day 9 – Legislative Branch – Why the Legislative Branch is listed first in Article I of the United States Constitution – Guest Essayist: James Best

Day 10 – Form of Government – What it means to have a republican form of government and why this structure mattered to America’s Founders and Framers of the Constitution in Article IV, Section 4 –Guest Essayist: Professor Joerg Knipprath

Day 11 – The Declaration of Independence and the United States Congress – Guest Essayist: Gary Porter

 Day 12 – Articles of Confederation – The first written constitution of the United States, lead to the Constitutional Convention of 1787, how the early Congress wanted to represent the people and avoid becoming a tyranny – Guest Essayist: George Landrith

Day 13 – Articles of Confederation – Congress wielded all three powers: Legislative, Judicial, and Executive, that were later separated – Guest Essayist: Dan Cotter

Day 14 – Articles of Confederation – What the Framers thought of the Articles of Confederation and why they did not last – Guest Essayist: Patrick Garry

Day 15 – Bill of Rights – In a letter from Thomas Jefferson to James Madison he writes, “A bill of rights is what the people are entitled to against every government on earth” on designing an effective government that remains in the hands of the American people by placing limits on Congressional governing – Guest Essayist Part One: Andrew Langer

Day 16 – Bill of Rights – Placing Limits on Congressional Governing – Guest Essayist Part Two: Gary Porter

Day 17 – Bill of Rights – Placing Limits on Congressional Governing – Guest Essayist Part Three: Patrick Garry

Day 18 – Bill of Rights – Congressman James Madison addresses the House in 1789 on Amendments to the United States Constitution, and guides the Bill of Rights through the United States House of Representatives – Guest Essayist: Tony Williams

FEDERALIST PAPERS ON CONGRESS
Day 19 – Federalist No. 10 – Political stability v. instability and the necessities for good government in the relationship between American citizens and those among them who serve as members of Congress – Guest Essayist: Richard Wagner

Day 20 – Federalist No. 51 and 53 – The necessities for good government in regards to checks and balances between the branches of government: How the American people hold Congress accountable – Guest Essayist: Joerg Knipprath

Day 21 – Federalist No. 62 and 63 – Powers vested in the Senate, order and soundness of Congress: The Senate as a stable body, for a sense of national character responsible to the people – Guest Essayist: Joseph Knippenberg

Day 22 – Federalist No. 62  – The Structure and Role Of The Senate – Guest Essayist: Forrest Nabors

Day 23 – Federalist No. 63  – The Senate and our National Character – Guest Essayist: Forrest Nabors

THE GREAT DEBATES
Day 24 – Culture of Debates on the House and Senate Floors – How congressional debate has changed throughout the over 200 years of Floor proceedings; importance of decorum and civil debate especially in the Senate – Guest Essayist: Scot Faulkner

Day 25 – Statesmanship and the Great Debates – Daniel Webster, Henry Clay, and John C. Calhoun with distinguished oratory about the Constitution and American Union in the early 1800s – Guest Essayist: Brian Pawlowski

Day 26 – The Great Debates – The Decision of 1789: Separation of powers, and the dispute between Congress and the President on removal of presidential appointees – Guest Essayists: David Alvis & Flagg Taylor

Day 27 – The Great Debates – Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson and the role of Congress in the creation and constitutionality of the National Bank – Guest Essayist: Joerg Knipprath

Day 28 – The Great Debates – Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson and the role of Congress in the creation and constitutionality of the National Bank, Part 2– Guest Essayist: Tony Williams

Day 29 – The Great Debates – Congress & The Missouri Compromise Of 1820 – Guest Essayist: Daniel A. Cotter

Day 30 – The Great Debates – 1830 Senate speech by Senator Robert Hayne and Daniel Webster’s reply to Robert Hayne’s speech – Guest Essayist: Joerg Knipprath

Day 31 – The Great Debates – 1830 Senate speech by Senator Robert Hayne and Daniel Webster’s reply to Robert Hayne’s speech, Part 2 – Guest Essayist: Joerg Knipprath

Day 32 – Freedom of Speech within Congressional Debates – John Quincy Adams and his epic struggle against the Gag Rule in the 1840s – Guest Essayist: Tony Williams

Day 33 – The Great Debates – Stephen A. Douglas (1813-1861) who served as a congressman and senator from Illinois, was instrumental in the Compromise of 1850 and Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854; known as “the Little Giant” – Guest Essayist: Daniel A. Cotter

Day 34 – The Great Debates – League of Nations Senate debate of 1919; Wilson, Lodge, and the fight over the Versailles Treaty and congressional prerogative over declaration of war. Woodrow Wilson (1856-1924) from New Jersey served as 28th President of the United States. Henry Cabot Lodge (1850-1924) served as a congressman and senator from Massachusetts – Guest Essayist: Tony Williams

Day 35 – The Great Debates – Entry into WWII and the America First debate – Guest Essayist: James Legee

Day 36 – The Great Debates – The Nineteenth Amendment – Guest Essayist: Cleta Mitchell

Day 37 – The Great Debates Entry into WWII and the America First debate, Part 2 – Guest Essayist: James Legee

Day 38 – The Great Debates – Civil Rights Act of 1964 – Guest Essayist: Daniel A. Cotter

BIOGRAPHIES OF PROMINENT CONGRESSMEN IN AMERICAN HISTORY
Day 39 – John Quincy Adams (1767-1848) – Served as the sixth President of the United States 1825-1829, a Massachusetts congressman and senator – Guest Essayist: Brian Pawlowski

Day 40 – Henry Clay (1777-1852) – Served as Speaker of the House under President John Quincy Adams and senator, from Kentucky, and leader of the Whig party – Guest Essayist: Joe Postell and Samuel Postell

Day 41 – John C. Calhoun (1782-1850) – Served as the nation’s seventh Vice President of the United States to Presidents John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson, a South Carolina congressman and senator, Part 1 – Guest Essayist: Joerg Knipprath

Day 42 – John C. Calhoun (1782-1850) – Served as the nation’s seventh Vice President of the United States to Presidents John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson, a South Carolina congressman and senator, Part 2 – Guest Essayist: Joerg Knipprath

Day 43 – Daniel Webster (1782-1852) – Served as a New Hampshire congressman and senator, and in the Cabinet as secretary of state under Presidents William Henry Harrison and John Tyler; known as “The Great Orator,” Part 1 – Guest Essayist: Joerg Knipprath

Day 44 – Daniel Webster (1782-1852) – Served as a New Hampshire congressman and senator, and in the Cabinet as secretary of state under Presidents William Henry Harrison and John Tyler; known as “The Great Orator,” Part 2 – Guest Essayist: Joerg Knipprath

Day 45 – Thomas Hart Benton (1782-1858) – Served as a congressman and senator; elected in 1820, one of the first two Missouri senators, recognized as a Senate leader for the Presidents Andrew Jackson and Martin Van Buren administrations – Guest Essayist: Ben Phibbs .

Day 46 – James G. Blaine (1830-1893) – Served as Secretary of State, appointed by Presidents James Garfield and Benjamin Harrison, a representative and senator from Maine – Guest Essayist: Daniel A. Cotter .

Day 47 – Thomas Brackett Reed (1839-1902) – Served as Speaker of the House, a congressman and state senator from Maine; known for “Reed’s Rules” and being a very influential House Speaker – Guest Essayists: Joseph Postell and Samuel Postell .

Day 48 – Samuel Rayburn (1882-1961) – Served as a congressman from Texas, Speaker of the House of Representatives – Guest Essayist: Patrick Cox .

Day 49 – Howard Worth Smith (1883-1976) – Served as a congressman from Virginia, Rules Committee chairman Guest Essayist: Bruce Dierenfield .

Robert Taft (1889-1953) – Served as a state representative and United States senator from Ohio; son of President William Howard Taft – Guest Essayist: Tony Williams .

Mike Mansfield (1903-2001) – Served as a congressman, and Senate Majority Leader from Montana – Guest Essayist: James Legee .

Lyndon Baines Johnson (LBJ) (1908-1973) – Served as 36th President of the United States; Vice President to John F. Kennedy; congressman from Texas, Senate Minority and Majority Leader; known for his progressive “Great Society” programs – Guest Essayist: Daniel A. Cotter .

Thomas Philip, Jr. (Tip) O’Neill (1912-1994) – Served as a congressman from Massachusetts as Democratic Whip, Majority Leader, and Speaker of the House – Guest Essayist: Daniel A. Cotter .

Henry J. Hyde (1924-2007) – Served as a congressman from Illinois, Majority Leader and Chair of the Judiciary Committee – Guest Essayist: Gary Porter .

Daniel Patrick Moynihan (1927-2003) – Served as a senator from New York; Democratic Party Leader in Congress – Guest Essayist: Daniel A. Cotter .

Newt Gingrich (1943) – Served as a congressman from Georgia, Speaker of the House, and Republican Whip; led the 1994 Contract with America – Guest Essayist: Scot Faulkner .

BOOKS
Book: Great Senators of the United States by Oliver Dyer, a summary – Guest Essayist: TBA

Book: The Challenge of Congressional Representation by Richard F. Fenno, a summary – Frank Reilly .

REPRESENTATIVE GOVERNMENT
Magna Carta, Parliament and the origins of Representative Congress – Guest Essayist: Scot Faulkner . Marc Clauson .

Virginia House of Burgesses and colonial legislatures as the basis for consent and American self-government – Guest Essayist: Joerg Knipprath .

Representative Government – How Congress is designed by America’s Founders so a king could not rule, but instead the American people rule within a civil society – Guest Essayist: James D. Best .

Compensation – Influence payment has on statesmanship of Congress members – TBA

Rule of Law – Meaning of the Rule of Law and its importance to the functions of Congress in representing the American people – Guest Essayist: Richard Wagner . Gary Porter . Adam MacLeod . Marc Clauson .

CONGRESSIONAL ELECTIONS
The Great Compromise of 1787 – Maintained fairness of the bicameral, proportional representation, provided each small state the same voting power as each large state, under the Constitution – Guest Essayist: Robert McDonald .

Election of Congress – Significance of House and Senate Members elected directly by the people: Congressional districts, population, how the number of constituents affects representation – Guest Essayist: Joerg Knipprath .

Election of Congress – Why the election method matters for the stability and continuity of representative government – Guest Essayist: Gary Porter .

Midterms – What a midterm election involves and why they are important for successful functioning of Congress – Guest Essayist: Scot Faulkner .

Campaign Finance – Laws related to campaign finance, a history and impact on running for Congress – Guest Essayist: Richard Wagner, Frank Reilly .

Counting the Personal Cost – Impact that running for elected office, and serving in Congress, has on the members and their families – Guest Essayist: James D. Best .

RULES IN CONGRESS
Rules of the United States House of Representatives: Purpose and how the House rules are decided – Guest Essayist: TBA

Rules of the United States Senate: Purpose and how the Senate rules are decided – Guest Essayist: TBA

ROLES IN CONGRESS
Roles of Speaker of the House, President of the Senate, House and Senate Majority and Minority Leaders, and Whip, for an effective Congress – Guest Essayist: TBA

Congressional Aides: How staff who assist members of Congress help them understand bills – Guest Essayist: Scot Faulkner .

CONGRESSIONAL POWERS AND RESPONSIBILITIES
Federalism especially in regards to the Senate; and federalism, Congress, and legislative power – Guest Essayist: Andrew Langer . Patrick Garry .

Oversight – Congress acts as a watchdog over bureaucracy – Guest Essayist: Richard Wagner .

Separation of Powers, Checks & Balances and Impeachment: Presidents Andrew Johnson, Richard Nixon, and Bill Clinton – Guest Essayist: Andrew Langer .

Treaty – How treaties have evolved and how Congress must decide on treaties – Guest Essayist: TBA

Congressional Powers During War – The United States Congress versus the Confederate Congress during the Civil War – Guest Essayist: James D. Best .

Congress, Declarations of War and authorization of force and War Powers Act e.g., Korea, Vietnam, Iraq – Guest Essayist: TBA

Budget – How Congress uses its power over the budget to make policy, and the constitutional problems that arise in the budget process – Guest Essayist: TBA

 LEGISLATIVE PROCESS
Introducing Legislation – Where do ideas for bills come from? – Guest Essayist: TBA

How a Bill Becomes Law – Guest Essayist: TBA

Germane – What should and should not be placed in a bill to keep legislation easy to understand and appropriate – Guest Essayist: James D. Best .

Length of Legislation – Why bills have grown significantly in length over the history of the United States Congress – Guest Essayist: Marc Clauson .

Committee Process – Purpose and process of legislative committees in the House of Representatives and Senate – Guest Essayist: Joe Postell and Samuel Postell .

Constitutional Muster – Hearings and the Committee Process – How representative government happens during committee hearings – Guest Essayist: Scot Faulkner .

From Committee to the Floor for a Vote – What happens in committee, and the role of the American people in the committee process – Guest Essayist: TBA

GRIDLOCK IN CONGRESS
Gridlock – Why Congress is so contentious, and how the clash over views in heated debates by opposing sides can pave the way for passage of good laws – Guest Essayist: Richard Wagner .

Sign or Not Sign Into Law? Getting a bill from introduction in Congress to the President’s desk: How easy should it be? – Guest Essayist: Gary Porter .

Partisanship and Violence in Congress –1790s and 1850s caning of Charles Sumner (1811-1874) who served as a senator and abolitionist from Massachusetts – Guest Essayist: George Landrith .

Revolt of 1910 against House Speaker Joseph Cannon (1836-1926) whose powers as House Speaker were removed in 1910. Cannon, a congressman from Illinois, also served as Conference Chair – Guest Essayist: Joe Postell and Samuel Postell .

Filibuster – History of the filibuster, today used only by the Senate, its purpose and effects on the legislative process – Guest Essayist: Frank Reilly .

Will They Agree? When legislation must go to a conference committee after the House and Senate – Guest Essayist: TBA

Transformation of the Parties – How the Democratic and Republican parties have changed throughout the history of the United States, and the effects on Congress – Guest Essayist: TBA

CONTEMPORARY ISSUES
An imperial Congress after Watergate? – Guest Essayist: TBA

Congress and the rise of the progressive administrative state – Guest Essayists: Joe Postell and Samuel Postell . Patrick Garry . Marc Clauson .

Lobbying – The influence of lobbyists on the old system, when political bosses were in charge; and now, when candidates need campaign dollars – Guest Essayist: TBA

Press – How media coverage affects the legislative process – Guest Essayist: TBA

Technology – Impact made on and by Congress from ink and quill to use of electronic voting, the Internet, and televised Floor proceedings – Guest Essayist: Scot Faulkner .

Concluding Essay – Guest Essayist: TBA

 

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