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The Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1774-2005

Cover of the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1774-2005

The newest edition of the Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress contains a wide range of updated materials, including information about state delegations for the 1st through the 108th Congresses and biographies of the approximately 12,000 persons who have served in the legislative branch since the First Continental Congress in 1774. (The last edition of the Biographical Directory was published in 1989.) The sheer size of this volume attests to the historical connection between Congress and the American people, while encompassing a large roster of diverse Members (http://bioguide.congress.gov). By contrast, fewer than 160 individuals served in the office of President and on the Supreme Court during this 231-year span.

As the United States matured, House Membership expanded; it now includes 435 Representatives; four Delegates from the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, and the Virgin Islands; and a Resident Commissioner from Puerto Rico. Nineteenth-century changes in Congress’s size were followed by twentieth-century shifts in gender and ethnicity. Jeannette Rankin, the first woman elected to Congress, began her House service in 1917—three years before the 19th Amendment gave women the right to vote. More than 200 Congresswomen have served since then. African Americans, whose post–Civil War political rights were curtailed by segregation, began entering Congress in greater numbers after the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Hispanic Americans and Asian-Pacific Americans, currently the fastest-growing minority groups in the nation, also have become more numerous in Congress, bringing attention to issues that are vital to their communities.

This edition of the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, available from the Government Printing Office, was created to educate the American people about the lives and service of the men and women who legislate to fulfill the promise of democracy.

 


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