title: Filibuster and Cloture
p: Using the filibuster to delay or block legislative action has a long history. The term filibuster—from a Dutch word meaning "pirate"—became popular in the 1850s, when it was applied to efforts to hold the Senate floor in order to prevent a vote on a bill.
p: In the early years of Congress, representatives as well as senators could filibuster. As the House of Representatives grew in number, however, revisions to the House rules limited debate. In the smaller Senate, unlimited debate continued on the grounds that any senator should have the right to speak as long as necessary on any issue.
p: In 1841, when the Democratic minority hoped to block a bank bill promoted by Kentucky senator
a: Henry Clay
a: Thomas Hart Benton
p: Three quarters of a century later, in 1917, senators adopted a rule (Rule 22), at the urging of President Woodrow Wilson, that allowed the Senate to end a debate with a two-thirds majority vote, a device known as "
a: cloture
p: Many Americans are familiar with the filibuster conducted by Jimmy Stewart, playing Senator Jefferson Smith in Frank Capra's film
i: Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
a: Huey P. Long
a: J. Strom Thurmond
a: 24 hours and 18 minutes
order: 1
parent: /history/common/briefing/Filibuster_Cloture