The first section of Article I of the Constitution provides that "all legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives." Following sections of this article provide for the composition and organization of these two branches of the national legislature and enumerate the powers which they may collectively or severally exercise. In the present chapter we shall be concerned with the constitutional provisions for the organization of Congress.

The term "Congress" is an old one, its international use as the title of formal meetings of heads of sovereign States or their representatives, dates from the seventeenth century.1 In America the word had been used of such joint conferences as the colonies had convened. When the articles of consideration were drawn up, the term was applied to the confederate administrative and law-making body, and, as was but natural, the same name was given to the legislature provided for in the Constitution which replaced the Articles.