Impact of Congress

Activity

Instructions: Choose a session of Congress from the menu below to begin:

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37th Congress 1861-1863

The 37th Congress ran from March 4, 1861 to March 3, 1863, during the first term of President Lincoln. Most of the legislation passed by Congress dealt with the Civil War, though legislation like the Homestead Act and the Morrill Land-Grant College Act also passed.

"General Irvin McDowell and staff, Arlington House,1862." Photograph. 1862. From the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division. http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/2008680204/ (accessed April 17, 2014)
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59th Congress 1905-1907

The 59th Congress ran from March 4, 1905 to March 3, 1907, during the second term of Theodore Roosevelt. Much of the legislation passed by Congress dealt with Progressive-era reforms, such as dealing with railroad industry abuses, unsafe medicines, and unsanitary conditions in the meatpacking industry.

Ottmann, J., lithographer. "The Bosses of the Senate." Lithograph. 1889. From the U.S. Senate: Art and History Collection. http://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/art/artifact/Ga… (accessed April 17, 2014)
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65th Congress 1917-1918

The 65th Congress ran from March 4, 1917 to March 3, 1919, during the second term of Woodrow Wilson. The key challenge was dealing with World War I, through declarations of war, the Railroad Control Act, the Espionage Act, and the Selective Service Act. It also approved and sent to the states for ratification the 16th Amendment-Prohibition.

Paus, Herbert, artist. "The United States Army builds men. Apply nearest recruiting office." Lithograph. Buffalo, New York : Niagara Litho. Co., 1919. From the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division. http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/94514699/ (accessed April 17, 2014)
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73rd Congress 1933-1935

The 73rd Congress ran from March 4, 1933 to January 3, 1935, during the first term of Franklin D. Roosevelt. The main task of the 73rd Congress was dealing with the bank failures and high unemployment of the Great Depression. Numerous reforms and relief measures were passed.

"Breadline at McCauley Water Street Mission under Brooklyn Bridge, New York." c1930-1934. Photograph. From Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division. Washington, D.C. http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/fsa1998018760/PP/ (accessed April 17, 2014)
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89th Congress 1965-1967

The 89th Congress ran from January 3, 1965 to January 3, 1967, during the second administration of Lyndon B. Johnson. Congress dealt largely with President Johnson's ambitious "Great Society" agenda, including voting rights, health care for the aged and poor, aid to education, and environmental protection.

Bubley, Esther, photographer. "A Greyhound bus trip from Louisville, Kentucky, to Memphis, Tennessee, and the terminals. Sign at bus station. Rome, Georgia" Photograph. September, 1943. From the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, Washington, DC. http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/owi2001035842/PP/ (accessed April 17, 2014)
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97th Congress 1981-1983

The 97th Congress ran from January 3, 1981 to January 3, 1983, during the first term of Ronald Reagan. The 97th Congress dealt with President Reagan's efforts to boost the economy through tax cuts and reducing the size of government, while also expanding defense spending during the Cold War.

"Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall." Photograph. From the Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training: Moments in U.S. Diplomatic History (accessed April 17, 2014)
Answer the following questions based on the session of Congress you chose above:
Questions Type Your Answers Here Progress: 0/10
1. What was the political situation at the time? (Were the President and Congress of the same party? How large was the majority in the House and Senate?)
2. Explain the historical context. What were the major challenges facing the country then?
3. What were the major legislative accomplishments of this session of Congress? Explain.
4. Were there any major challenges Congress was trying to address but failed to reach agreement on? Explain.
5. How did the voters evaluate the session—did the party in power gain seats or lose seats in the next election?
6. Choose one of the bills passed this session. Why do you think this was an important bill?
7. What was the main problem Congress was trying to address?
8. Read some of the House or Senate floor debate during consideration of the bill. Explain what some of the key issues were during the debate.
9. How well do you think Congress did on this particular bill? Was it a reasonable solution to the problem?
10. Overall, on a scale from 1 to 10 (highest score), how would you rate the accomplishments of this session of Congress?
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