Chapter 5: The Organization of Congress
"Learning About the Senate"
In this chapter students have learned about the structure
of Congress, the qualifications for congressional membership,
and the role of congressional committees and supporting staff
and agencies. In this lesson students will take a closer look
at one of the houses of the United States Congressthe
Students will visit the United States Senate Web site to learn
more about this house of Congress. They will read a brief
history of the Senate, examine the role of committees in the
Senate, and learn the structure of Senate leadership.
- Students will be able to explain the basic structure of
- Students will be able to describe the hierarchy of Senate
Student Web Activity Answers
Go to Student Web Activity
- The two-house Congress was established as a result of
the "Great Compromise" between large and small states at
the Constitutional Convention in 1787.
- The three kinds of committees are: Standingpermanent
bodies with specific responsibilities spelled out in the
Senate's official rules; Special and Selectcreated
for clearly specified purposes; Jointused for legislative
and administrative coordination.
- A filibuster is used to delay debate or to block legislation.
The record for the longest filibuster is held by J. Strom
Thurmond, who filibustered for 24 hours and 18 minutes against
the Civil Rights Act of 1957.
- The minority and majority leaders serve as spokespeople
for their parties on the issues. They are chosen at the
beginning of each Congress by members of their respective
- Students' seals will vary.