The Congressional Party: A Case Study

The Congressional Party: A Case Study

The Congressional Party: A Case Study

The Congressional Party: A Case Study

Excerpt

Although the fortunes of men and institutions are not turned toward triumph or disaster by any single factor, poets and politicians long have known that some one practice or quality may so reflect the strengths and weaknesses of a whole range of influences that it may be taken as critical. In the gallant gamble of contemporary democracy the representative assembly, the legislature, is such a crucial element. The fate of a nation is not hinged on it alone; especially in the American scheme of things the national legislature cannot be regarded as the sole or, from most points of view, even the most important determinant of the country's future. Yet the Congress of the United States so mirrors the nation in all its complexities and so intimately affects the other elements in the political system that without distortion one may regard its operations as setting limits upon the effectiveness of the whole.

In keeping with its political importance, the Congress has been much written about. Its activities stimulate a large fraction of the outpourings of the daily press, and the books devoted to it would fill a sizable library. Yet the Congress, however well known, is but little understood. The reasons for this paradox are many. Certainly . . .

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