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2010-12-22 15:59:24

How Congress Has Changed

            Although congress can be seen by the American public as the gathering of a set number of individuals united for an optimal cause, however, congress have made huge changes since its creation in late 1700s.  The main purpose of the paper is to discuss how congress has changed over the course of its creation by comparing its priorities today to the reason for its creation.  From a close observation of today’s congress, it has become eminent that individualism, partisanship and special interest have plagued the legislative body; thus contradicting the ideas of representation that the founders had in mind.  In addition, another aspect of congress that needs to be evaluated is how well it carries out its assigned duties by the constitution like taxing, balancing of budget and balancing of power etc.

            In 1789 during the creation of the 1st congress, the apportionment of seats in the house of representative and senate was based on the terms made in the Article 1, Section 2 Clause 3 of the United States constitution for the purpose of representing the people.  One major concern about government to the founders is to avoid any branch of government (executive, legislative or judiciary) from being absolute.  As a solution to deal with this concern, also in Article 1 Section 2 Clause 3 of the Constitution is the provision for term limits for congressman, which reasserts the power back to the public to curb the government if ambitious.  The objectives and symbolism of congress is to make laws and represent the United States citizens, but starting from the 1950’s there have been a great deal of individualism and intense partisanship that have characterized the senate and the House (Sinclair 18).  Members of congress become individualistic because they feel that they have to submit to their own self-interest and the interest of their party instead of the well being of the people.  Furthermore, this means voting in line with their party if in control.  For example, in today’s government is has become evident that a republican as president and a congress with liberal democrats wouldn’t have the same set of approval for legislations.

            According to Roger Davidson in the “Congress and Its Members”, the proximate goal for everyone in congress is to get reelected as much as possible (Davidson 5).  Davidson explained the dual nature of congress by emphasizing that members of congress vote in accordance with the hope securing their sit for the future or preserving the interest of their political party.  First, the primary goals of congress as Davidson explain does not include the interest of the people that help get them elected into office.  For instance, Davidson’s findings are evident in today’s senate because there are some senators that have held their seat for over 30 years.  Congress is the result of people with different points of view, values, and experiences sitting down together to reason with one another and search for common ground. This is precisely what Congress was designed to foster, and it is what we lose when Congress decides that supporting the party leader is more important than upholding its rights and duties as the institution that most fully represents the American people.  Thus, Roger Davidson pointed out the motives of the modern day legislative body but the primary goal of congress should be to enact laws for the nation and place the interest of the country first; before any political party affiliation.

            Congress today is judged by the policies it adopts and the ends it uses to tackle the current situation.  For example, when congress raise taxes to fund a program or war, its approval ratings in the public decreases; as a result of this circumstance congress let slip of its responsibilities.  The fear that they might loose the favor with their constituents and as a result cost them their job in the government.  Furthermore, as it has been stated in Article 1, Section 8 of the constitution that congress has the authority to provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States.

            From my own viewpoint, I think congress have made changes over the years since its creation because of various reasons. First, is the diverse ethnicity, theme of independence in every American and the misconception about what the people really want.  There are different race and ethnicity in congress today in contrast to when it was first created.  Diverse race means diverse opinions about legislation in terms of looking out for one own native community.  As the future nears, American citizens are becoming more independent with different goals and beliefs about social, economical and political aspect about their daily life.  For example, there are thousands of opinion on issues like gay marriage, minimum wages and tax cut; which makes it hard for the government to make a decision without having to offend anyone point of view.

            Finally, congress to the public is a group of individuals united for the common good of the country but certainly since its creation congress have made several changes in its values as a representative and law making institution.  In the United States today, congress have deviated from lending credence to the true ideology that requires them to place the interest of the public over theirs – individualism.  Every member of congress today wants reelection because it’s the only way to continue the interest of its political party or his or her own interest, which would lead them to vote in accordance to their party if in power – partisanship.  according to the specification of what the congress are supposed to consider its top priority its very clear that the United States congress is not placing the interest of the public over theirs first.


Work Cited

Davidson, R (2008). Congress and its Members. Washington, DC: CQ Press.

Sinclair, B (2005). Congress Reconsidered. Washington, DC: CQ Press.

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