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1800-1859


"The Senate Through the Ages"
Introduction
 

 
Photograph of U.S. Capitol Building with low dome.
 

"At a few yards' distance is the door of the Senate, which contains within a small space a large proportion of the celebrated men of America.  Scarcely an individual is to be seen in it who has not had an active and illustrious career:  The Senate is composed of eloquent advocates, distinguished generals, wise magistrates, and statesmen of note, whose arguments would do honor to the most remarkable parliamentary debates of Europe."

-Alexis De Tocqueville, Democracy in America, Vol. 1.

Painting of Senator Daniel Webster addressing the Senate in a crowded Senate Chamber.
 

"This is a Senate, a Senate of equals, of men of individual honor and personal character, and of absolute independence.  We know no masters, we acknowledge no dictators.  This is a hall for mutual consideration and discussion; not an arena for the exhibition of champions."

-Senator Daniel Webster, 'Second Reply to Hayne.' Senate floor speech, January 26-27, 1830.

Color engraving of Senator Henry Clay addressing the Senate in the Senate Chamber.
 

"Life itself is a compromise between death and life...  All legislation, all government, all society, is formed upon the principle of mutual concession...  Compromises have this recommendation, that if you concede any thing, you have something conceded to you in return."

-Senator Henry Clay, speaking in support of the Compromise of 1850.

A cartoon of Representative Brooks raising his cane above a prostrate Senator Charles Sumner.
 

"The Senate is a dignified and decorous body, and its proceedings are conducted with much gravity and order."

-Charles Dickens, American Notes, 1842.