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U.S. Political History

Two Houses of the Congress. Are they similar?

Two Houses of the Congress

The United States has got two houses under the Congress. The senator constitutes the Senate, and the citizens elect the representatives to represent the house of representative, known as the bicameral system of representation. Members of the House of Representatives are elected after every two years while members of the Senate are elected for a six-year period. Their differences begin right from their qualification requirements. To qualify for a Senate election, one must be at least 30 years old and must have been a citizen for at least nine years. On the other hand, to vie for the representative post, the minimum age is 25, and one must have been a citizen for at least seven years.
The legislation process in both houses has several similarities stage wise. Both start with the introduction of a bill. A bill is a proposal that is to be debated on and approved to become law if all stages succeed. All the legislative roles are left for the Congress.

They both mainly recognize public bills as private bills would mainly be to an individual’s advantage. Both houses have introduction stage where only members can introduce bills after which they are assigned designation numbers. The second stage in both houses is the referral to the appropriate committees for further study. In the third stage, the committee study, the committee discusses the bill and may assign different segments of the draft law to specific subcommittees for further scrutiny, hearing, and voting where the law qualifies to pass by a simple majority. If approved by the committee, the bill goes to the fourth stage, referral to the house where the bill is then taken back to the particular house. In the fifth step, debate and voting are carried out and again, the bill passes by a simple majority. The sixth step which is the formation of conference committee involves delegation from both houses. The conference committee unites the different versions from the other stages and comes up with a report. After this, both houses again vote to pass or fail the bill. The last step is the presidential ascent where if the president signs, it becomes law.

There are some distinct differences in the legislative processes in the two houses. The very initial one is that all revenue relating bills are left to the House of Representatives. These laws include bills to regulate taxes of the nation. Secondly, as the house of representatives is vested with the power to discuss the revenue laws, it is the mandate of the Senate to review and approve these bills.

The floor debating stage in the two houses differ. In the house of representatives, the Committees have the powers to control the number of amendments offered and even limit the debate as opposed to the Senate where the Senate can speak all their minds, propose the number of bills they require without being monitored and constrained by the committee.

Electing these members representing smaller constituencies is done after every two years as opposed to the Senate who represents larger areas of jurisdiction and after six years they can be elected.

U.S. Political Parties. History and Rise

United States Capitol

Politics involve people of different policy ideas, some of which may be shared among several politicians. In most cases, those politicians with common ideologies work together. A group of people with shared principles, who can nominate a single candidate among themselves to contest for a given legislative seat, with the aim of running the government or a small agency of the state as per the approved manifestoes, is called a political party. The legislative seat is always a public office. Political parties enable citizens to practice their democratic rights by allowing them to select best leaders and also send home the poor performers.

The first two political parties in the U.S.A were the Federalists and Anti-Federalists. These two were born in the 1790s when the need for democracy arose. Since then, the USA has been like a two party nation as these two parent parties have evolved into the two largest parties in today’s American politics; Republicans and Democrats. The birth of political parties in the U.S.A can be said to have delayed mainly because the founding fathers of America saw no sense in forming political parties. There are five eras in the history of political parties in the U.S.A.

The first period starts in 1796 where the first two political parties are formed, every party with interest to counter the influence of the other. However, the common goal was to see how to form a government, although every party had got its way to approaching this. The Federalists wanted a centralized system of government, with one central bank. They supported such economic developments as industrialization and improvement of infrastructure through the building of canals. As opposed to this, the Anti-Federalists were for the devolved system of government. They believed in the power states. They were against the issue of the government helping in industrialization and instead suggested farming. The Federalists won, but the Anti-federalists ensured that they weakened their competitors. The Federalists have been wholly undermined by the Anti-federalists and were almost non-existent by 1828.

The second era comes in between 1828 and 1856 consisting of the Democratic Party as well as the Whig party. Andrew Jackson was the defacto leader of the Democrats who formed the Democratic party and as in the Anti-federalist period were opposed to the central government system, central banking system and believed in a common man political system. The Whigs were against the Democrat’s democracy and got the support of the bankers and the industrialists. The parties later got divided due to the slavery issue. The Democrats split into the Northern and Southern Democrats. The issue of slavery increased the Republican’s popularity, and they managed to win the presidency. However, they faced challenges due to economic fall. In the 1900s, the third era had begun, and Democrats realigned into Progressive Party under Franklin Roosevelt who won the presidency in the year 1932. The progressive party formed a collision with the New Deal party and reigned up to 1968 when the Vietnam War shook them. The last error began in 1968 where there were still two main parties, the Republicans, who have significantly controlled the presidency and the Democrats who have been the masters of the congress. Today, the outgoing president is a Democrat, and the incoming one is a Republican.

The main reason for the rise of political parties in the U.S.A was the different ideologies on how to come up with a government and a constitution. Two sides have existed ever since the American political history. One side advocated for the central government and national banking as the other was for the power of states. These gave rise to the formation of the first two political parties in the U.S.A. The verge of political parties’ eruption was the clash between Thomas Jefferson and Hamilton in 1792 that led to the formation of the Federalists and the Anti-Federalists parties. Hamilton proposed the plan to have a federal government and support for manufacturing that was opposed to Jefferson. Those that were pro-Hamilton formed the Federalists Party as the opponents formed the Anti-Federalists Party.