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the first Wednesday of March, 1789, as the day when the two Houses of Congress should first assemble, which happened to be the fourth day of that month.

Thus a point of beginning was fixed and, as the rule has never been changed, our Congresses continue to come and go on the fourth of March of

every other

year. The present procedure is as follows: Representatives are chosen in November of every even year, 1892, 1894, 1896, while their terms, and so the successive Congresses, begin on March 4 of every odd numbered year, 1893, 1895, 1897.

While Representatives come and go together at intervals of two years, Senators come and go in thirds at the same intervals. The result is that while a House of Representatives lasts but two years, the Senate is a perpetual body.

353. Meeting of Congress.-Congress must assemble at least once every year, and such meeting is on the first Monday of December, unless by law it names another day. Hence every Congress holds two regular sessions. Furthermore, Congress may by law provide for special sessions, or it may hold adjourned sessions, or the President, if he thinks it necessary, may call the houses together in special session. As a matter of fact,

, all of these things have been done at different times. As the law now stands the first regular session of Congress begins on the first Monday of December following the beginning of the Representative's term, and it may continue until the beginning of the next regular session, and commonly does continue until midsummer. The second regular session begins the first Monday of December, but can continue only until March 4 of the next year, or until the expiration of the Representative's term. It is the custom to call these the long and the short sessions.

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354. Officers of the Senate.-The Vice-President of the United States is President of the Senate, but has no vote unless the Senators are equally divided. The Senate chooses its other officers, the Secretary, Chief Clerk, Executive Clerk, Sergeant-at-Arms, Door Keeper, and Chaplain. The duties of these officers are indicated by their titles. The Senators also choose one of their number President pro tempore, who presides in the absence of the Vice-President or when he has succeeded to the office of President. The Senate is a perpetual body, and is ordinarily fully organized, although not in actual session, at any given time.

355. Officers of the House of Representatives.The House chooses one of its members Speaker, who presides over its proceedings. It also chooses persons who are not members to fill the other offices, the Clerk, Sergeant-at-Arms, Postmaster, and Chaplain. The Speaker has the right to vote on all questions, and must do so when his vote is needed to decide the question that is pending. He appoints all committees, designating their chairmen, and is himself chairman of the important Committee on Rules. His powers are very great, and he is sometimes said to exercise as much

influence over the course of the Government as the President himself. The Speaker's powers cease with the death of the House that elects him, but the Clerk holds over until the Speaker and Clerk of the next House are elected, on which occasions he presides. It is common to elect an ex-member of the House Clerk.

356. The Houses Judges of the Election of their Members.—The Houses are the exclusive judges of the elections, returns, and qualifications of their members; that is, if the question arises whether a member has been duly elected, or whether the returns have been legally made, or whether the member himself is qualified, the house to which he belongs decides it. In the House of Representatives contested elections, as they are called, are frequent. As stated before, the Governor of the State gives the Representative his certificate of election, which is duly forwarded to Washington addressed to the Clerk of the House next preceding the one in which the Representative claims a seat. The Clerk makes a roll of the names of those who hold regular certificates, and all such persons are admitted to take part in the organization of the House when it convenes. Still such certificate and admission settle nothing when a contestant appears to claim the seat.

The House may then investigate the whole case from its very beginning, and confirm the right of the sitting member to the seat, or exclude him and admit the contestant, or declare the seat vacant altogether if it is found that there has been no legal election. In the last case, there must be a new election to fill the vacancy. The Governor of the State also certifies the election of the Senator. A Senatorelect appearing with regular credentials is admitted to be sworn and to enter upon his duties, but the Senate is still at liberty to inquire into his election and qualifi

cations, and to exclude him from his seat if, in its judgment, the facts justify such action. In respect to qualifications, it may be said that persons claiming seats, or occupying them, have been pronounced disqualified because they were too young, or because they had not been naturalized a sufficient time, or because they have been guilty of some misconduct. From the decision of the Houses in such cases there is no appeal.

357. Quorums.—The Houses cannot do business without a quorum, which is a majority of all the members; but a smaller number may adjourn from day to day, and may compel the attendance of absent members. Whether a quorum is present in the House of Representatives or not, is determined by the roll-call or by the Speaker's count. If a quorum is not present, the House either adjourns or it proceeds, by the method known as the call of the House, to compel the attendance of absentees. In the latter case officers are sent out armed with writs to arrest members and bring them into the chamber. When a quorum is obtained, the call is dispensed with and business proceeds as before. In several recent Congresses a rule has prevailed allowing the names of members who were present but who refused to vote to be counted, if necessary, for the purpose of making a quorum.

358. Rules of Proceedings.-Each house makes its own rules for the transaction of business. The rules of the Senate continue in force until they are changed, but those of the House of Representatives are adopted at each successive Congress. Still there is little change even here from Congress to Congress. Owing to the greater size of the body, the rules of the House are much more complex than the rules of the Senate. The rules of both Houses, like the rules of all legislative

assemblies in English-speaking countries, rest ultimately upon what is known as Parliamentary Law, which is the general code of rules that has been progressively developed by the English Parliament to govern the transaction of its business. Still many changes and modifications of this law have been found necessary, to adapt it to the purposes of Congress, and especially of the House of Representatives.

359. Power to Punish Members.—The Houses may punish members for disorderly behavior, and by a vote of two-thirds may expel members. These necessary powers have been exercised not unfrequently. In 1842 the House of Representatives reprimanded J. R. Giddings, of Ohio, for introducing some resolutions in relation to slavery; while the Senate in 1797 expelled William Blount, of Tennessee, for violating the neutrality laws, and in 1863 Mr. Bright, of Indiana, for expressing sympathy with the Southern secessionists. From the decisions of the Houses in such cases there is no appeal.

360. Journals and Voting.– The Houses are required to keep a full history of their proceedings in records called journals, and to publish the same except such parts as in their judgment require secrecy.

But as the House of Representatives always sits with open doors, the provision in respect to secrecy has no practical effect in that body. It is also null in the Senate except in executive sessions. These are secret sessions held for the transaction of special business sent to the Senate by the President, as the consideration of treaties and nominations. The yeas and nays must be called, and must be entered on the journal, when such demand is made by one-fifth of the members present. The object of these rules is to secure full publicity in regard to what is done in Congress. On the call of the roll, which is the only

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