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Introduction House of Representatives The Senate Making Laws The Veto


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House of Representatives The Senate Making Laws The Veto

House of Representatives

The House of Representatives was established as a result of the Great Compromise. The House is larger than the Senate.

The Constitution gave Congress the power to determine the size of the House and to divide representation according to state population. States with large populations have more representatives than small states.

The Constitution provided for at least one representative for each state. Originally, there was one representative for every 30,000 people. Today, there is one representative per several hundred thousand people. There are six states with just one representative per state. They are Alaska, Delaware, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, and Wyoming. California has the most representatives, a total of 53.

U.S. territories (American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands) and the District of Columbia have more limited representation.

The Constitution requires a census to be taken every 10 years. If a state's population increases, that state's number of representatives can increase too. There were 59 members at the first session of the House of Representatives. Today there are 435 members. Representatives are elected to serve for a period of 2 years.

Only the House can introduce spending bills.

The Constitution states the qualifications for being a Representative. To be a Representative a person must be at least 25 years old, a U.S. citizen for at least 7 years, and when elected, must be an inhabitant of that state in which he shall be chosen.

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In 1866, Elizabeth Cady Stanton was the first woman to run for the U.S. House of Representatives, even though she was not eligible to vote. She ran as an Independent from New York State, receiving 24 votes of 12,000 that were cast.

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