Elements of Civil Government eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 218 pages of information about Elements of Civil Government.


The Senate is composed of two senators from each State, elected by direct vote of the people;[1] and therefore each State has an equal representation, without regard to its area or the number of its people.

The term of a United States senator is six years, and one third of the Senate is elected every two years.

A senator must be thirty years old, for nine years a citizen of the United States, and must be an inhabitant of the State for which he shall be chosen.

A vacancy which occurs in any State’s representation in the United States Senate is filled by an election for the unexpired term; but the legislature of any State may empower the governor to make temporary appointments until such election is held.

The Vice President of the United States is ex officio president of the Senate, but has no vote except when the Senate is equally divided upon a question.  The Senate elects its other officers, including a president pro tempore, or temporary president, who presides when the Vice President is absent.

The Senate is a continuous body; that is, it is always organized, and when it meets it may proceed at once to business.

When the House of Representatives impeaches an officer of the United States, the impeachment is tried before the Senate sitting as a court.

The Senate has the sole power to try impeachments, and it requires two thirds of the senators present to convict.  Judgment in cases of impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, trust, or profit under the United States; but the party convicted shall, nevertheless, be liable and subject to indictment, trial, judgment, and punishment according to law.

All treaties made by the President of the United States with foreign countries must be laid before the Senate for ratification.  If two thirds of the Senate vote for the treaty, it is ratified; otherwise, it is rejected.

Treaties are compacts or contracts between two or more nations made with a view to the public welfare of each, and are usually formed by agents or commissioners appointed by the respective governments of the countries concerned.


The House of Representatives, often called the lower House of Congress, is a much larger body than the Senate.  The last apportionment of representatives, made in 1911, gave the House four hundred and thirty-five members, and this went into effect with the Sixty-third Congress, beginning on the 4th of March, 1913.

A census of the people is made every ten years, and upon this as a basis Congress fixes the number of representatives for the entire country, and the number to which each State shall be entitled for the next ten years thereafter.  Each legislature divides the State into as many Congress districts as the State is entitled to representatives, and each district elects a representative by direct vote of the people.

Project Gutenberg
Elements of Civil Government from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
Follow Us on Facebook