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The Anatomy of Congress:
Where Is the Nation’s Majority Party?

- Abstract

Congress has often been attacked as a veritable “house of misrepresentatives.” Its members are widely portrayed as being concerned primarily with local interests or with obstructing whoever happens to be President. Because of the over-representation of rural areas and the seniority system through which committee chairmen are selected, it is often contended that Congress as a whole fails to reflect the true popular will.

Congress is what it is primarily because that is what the American people are like. This holds true not only in the sense that individual Congressmen are typical of the average run of our citizenry. Beyond that, it is really our own weaknesses and strengths, extremism and moderation, which give shape to Congressional decision and indecision. A seat-by-seat study of the make-up of Congress shows that in recent years at least it has become far more sensitive to national issues than most people realize.

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