The Evolution of the Contemporary Congress

This course traces and examines the evolution of Congress from its constitutional foundation through the present day. The analysis focuses on how the institutions of Congress have changed in response to changing political, societal, and economic circumstances. Special attention is given to the major reform movements that Congress has undergone, as well as those areas that have been the most resistant to reform.

Specific topics may include:

  • The constitutional basis of congressional authority
  • Reforms in the 1940s, 1970s, and 1990s
  • Decentralization and the end of the committee barons
  • The rise and decline of political parties in Congress
  • A comparison of the House and the Senate
  • The evolving role of the Speaker and the Senate Majority Leader

Research Seminars meet approximately four times for two hours, over the course of 12 weeks. The first meeting date is published, with the others determined at the first class.

Download the Certificate Program Application (PDF) and review the Application Procedures.





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