In the 1860s, Republicans in the Senate began meeting at the start of each session of Congress to make committee assignments and set legislative agendas. Senate Democrats began meeting in the 1870s as well. It was not until 1903, however, that the Democratic Conference began regularly to record and preserve the minutes of their meetings. In 1911 the Republican Conference began to do the same.
In 1991 the Advisory Committee on the Records of Congress unanimously recommended that these conference minutes be edited for publication. These transcriptions, prepared by the Senate Historical Office under the direction of the secretary of the Senate and published in 1998, remain faithful to the original texts, with only minor typographical corrections. The minutes are organized by Congress, and each Congress is accompanied by an introductory note providing historical context. The publications add significantly to our knowledge of the Senate’s institutional development and the growth of party leadership during the first two-thirds of the 20th century.
Minutes of the Senate Democratic Conference (GPO-govInfo) (PDF)
Minutes of the Senate Republican Conference (GPO-govInfo) (PDF)
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