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Congress: How It Worked and Why It Doesn’t

U.S. CongressThe U.S. Congress, which meets at the Capitol in Washington, D.C., is composed of the Senate and the House of Representatives, as established by the Constitution of 1787.

Do you ever get the feeling that Congress is clueless, or even useless? We elect our representatives and senators to reflect our views. And yet when they get in there, they either don’t seem to care what we think, or else they’re powerless to make it happen.

You’re not imagining things. Professors Martin Gilens of Princeton University and Benjamin Page of Northwestern University looked at more than 20 years of data to answer a pretty simple question: Does the government represent the people?

What they found was extremely disturbing:

“The preferences of the average American appear to have only a minuscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy.”

How exactly was Congress intended to work? Why doesn’t it?

To understand why our federal government today seems so broken, and to figure out how to fix it, one must first understand how Congress has been transformed over the past century.

That’s why Hillsdale College has produced its latest online course: “Congress: How It Worked and Why It Doesn’t.”

In the new free course, you will discover the Founders’ intent for Congress and learn how this branch of government has changed over the years.

This interesting and timely course is taught by Kevin Portteus, a professor of politics at Hillsdale College.

Larry P. Arnn, President of Hillsdale College, contributes introductory and concluding lectures.

Topics include:

  • Introduction to Congress
  • Law, Reason, and Deliberation
  • Politics and Administration
  • The Non-Delegation Doctrine
  • Legislation and Regulation
  • Congressional Reform
  • Progressive Era Congressional Reform
  • The Modern Congress

Hillsdale College released “Congress: How It Worked and Why It Doesn’t” on September 17, 2018 – Constitution Day – but you can start it at any time.

The new online course is provided free of charge as part of Hillsdale’s mission to teach all who wish to learn.

We believe you will find this free course to be entertaining as well as beneficial as a supplement to a civics, government, or American history class.

Sign up for the course today at: https://lp.hillsdale.edu/congress

What types of activities and courses have you used as electives? Leave a comment and we may include yours in a future column!

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