The conference is an annual meeting of political scientists and historians focused on the examination of the United States Congress through a historical lens. This year’s conference is taking place in the James Madison Building, just steps from the U.S. Capitol, and will focus on the evolution of congressional leadership, the role of party and committees, and legislative branch reform efforts.
The first Congress & History conference was convened at Columbia University in 2002 by Ira Katznelson and Greg Wawro. Subsequent meetings were held at MIT (2003), Stanford (2004), Washington University at St. Louis (2005), Yale (2006), Princeton (2007), George Washington (2008), the University of Virginia (2009), Berkeley (2010), Brown (2011), University of Georgia (2012), Columbia (2013), the University of Maryland (2014), Vanderbilt (2015), and the University of Oklahoma (2016).
The conference stands out as an intimate, lively, exchange of ideas and knowledge between some of the nation’s best political scientists and historians. Discussions often include concrete observations concerning the “lessons learned” from history relevant to contemporary congressional challenges. Over the years, many outstanding books and articles on Congress originated with presentations at the Congress & History conference. The Library of Congress is honored to host this year’s program and hopes the proceedings will inspire a new, diverse generation of scholars to study the “first branch” of American government.
Date/Time: Thursday, June 15, 2017 from 9:00 a.m. – 8:30 p.m., and Friday, June 16, 2017 from 9:00 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.
Location: Montpelier Room, James Madison Building
Directions to the Library of Congress
This conference is by invitation only, and an RSVP is required.
Thursday, June 15, 2017
|8:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.||Continental Breakfast and Coffee|
|9:00 a.m. – 9:15 a.m.||Welcome from Robert Newlen, the Deputy Librarian Of Congress For Institutional Advancement|
|9:15 a.m. – 10:45 a.m.||The Role of Party in Congressional Decision-Making|
|10:45 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.||The Transformative Historical Role of Race and Gender|
|12:15 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.||Buffet Lunch|
|1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.||Docent Tour of the Jefferson Building|
|2:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.||The Budget and Appropriations Process in Modern Congressional History|
|4:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.||Roundtable Discussion on Congressional Reform|
|5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.||Reception in the Members Room with Display from Congressional Collection|
|6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.||Dinner in the Great Hall and Lecture from Gordon Wood|
Friday, June 16, 2017
|8:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.||Continental Breakfast and Coffee|
|9:00 a.m. – 10:45 a.m.||Committees in the Historical House|
|10:45 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.||Break|
|11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.||The Historical and Political Legacy of Newt Gingrich|
|12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.||Carryout lunch provided|
Download the agenda (PDF, 45KB)
Panel 1: The Role of Party in Congressional Decision-Making
Panel Chair: Josh Huder (Georgetown)
Non-Party Government in Congress: Bipartisan Lawmaking and Party Power in Congress
Wendy Schiller (Brown University)
Understanding the Historical Evolution of Party-Sanctioned Legislative Distancing
Eleanor Neff Powell (Wisconsin)
Jason Roberts (UNC Chapel Hill)
Panel 2: The Transformative Historical Role of Race and Gender
Panel Chair: Kate Scott (United States Senate Historian’s Office)
Context and Commitment: A Historical Understanding of Multiracial Coalitions in the House of Representatives
Vanessa Tyson (Scripps)
Gisela Sin (University of Illinois)
Rights by Fortune or Fight? Reexamining the Addition of Sex to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act
Kate Krimmel (Barnard)
Michele Swers (Georgetown)
Panel 3: The Budget and Appropriations Process in Modern Congressional History
Panel Chair: Arthur Burris (CRS)
Who Builds the Party Brand? The Politics of House Appropriations Amendments
Molly Reynolds (Brookings)
David Karol (University of Maryland)
Paper: Who Builds the Party Brand? The Politics of House Appropriations Amendments (PDF, 313KB)
Hyde Amendment and the Modern Congressional Appropriations Process
Nolan McCarty (Princeton)
Panel 4: Committees in the Historical House
Panel Chair: John Haskell (Advisory Panel on Defense Acquisition/Claremont)
Petitions and Legislative Committee Formation: Theory and Evidence from Revolutionary Virginia and the Early U.S. House
Richard Bensel (Cornell)
Rise and Decline of Select Committees in the House, 1789-1829
Anthony Madonna (University of Georgia)
Paper: Rise and Decline of Select Committees in the House, 1789-1829 (PDF, 792KB)
The Nature of Committee Agenda Control in the Antebellum House of Representatives
Scott MacKenzie (UC Davis)
Paper: The Nature of Committee Agenda Control in the Antebellum House of Representatives (PDF, 1.22MB)
Panel 5: The Historical and Political Legacy of Newt Gingrich
Panel Chair: Jacob Straus (CRS)
Newt Gingrich as an Oppositional Leader
Laurel Harbridge Yong (Northwestern University)
Paper: The Historical and Political Legacy of Newt Gingrich (PDF, 710KB)
Confrontations: Newt Gingrich, Jim Wright and an Explosion of Partisan Warfare in 1980s America
Julian Zelizer (Princeton)
Mike Crespin (University of Oklahoma)
Roundtable on Congressional Reform
Panel Chair: Matt Glassman (CRS)
Download the list of panels (PDF, 80KB)
Library of Congress
James Madison Building, Montpelier Room 101 Independence Avenue, SE, Washington, DC
Enter the Madison Building from Independence Avenue, SE at the main entrance. Take the elevators up to the sixth floor, and follow signs to the Montpelier Room.
From 8:30-9:00am both days, please join us for a continental breakfast and coffee in the Montpelier Room. Note that the Madison Building does not open to the public until 8:30am.
All panel sessions will take place in the Library of Congress Madison Building on Capitol Hill. While the Library is not able to manage your lodging arrangements, for your convenience a block of rooms has been reserved at the nearby Capitol Hill Hotel. Rooms are available at a discounted rate of $242.00 plus 14.5% tax. The rate includes continental breakfast, wireless internet, and access to the fitness center. The newly renovated Capitol Hill Hotel is located across the street from the Madison Building of the Library of Congress at 2nd and C Streets, SE. The hotel is within 1 block of many restaurants and the Capitol South Metro station. Check-in time is 3:00 p.m. and check-out time is noon.
If you wish to avail yourself of the room block, please make your reservation by May 15 by booking with the hotel directly or by calling (202) 448-2081 and referencing the Library of Congress, Congress and History Conference.
If you would like alternative lodging suggestions, please contact Colleen Shogan at (202) 707-8231 or [email protected].
Three airports serve the Washington, DC area:
- Washington National (DCA) is the closest airport to the Library of Congress and the only airport located directly on the metro system. (www.flyreagan.com/dca/parking-transportation)
- Dulles (IAD) is located about 26 miles west of DC, and can be reached via a bus/metro combination or shared-ride van service. (www.flydulles.com/iad/directions-maps)
- Baltimore Washington International (BWI), is located about 30 minutes northeast of DC, and can be reached by the regional commuter train line (MARC), AMTRAK, or a bus/metro combination. (www.bwiairport.com/en/travel/ground-transportation).
All DC region airports can also be reached using taxis and ride share services such as Uber and Lyft.
If you prefer to travel by train, the Jefferson Building is just a short walk away from Union Station, home of AMTRAK’s headquarters. (www.amtrak.com)
If you plan to travel by car, please note that parking can be difficult on Capitol Hill. There are a few two-hour zone and metered parking spots on nearby streets and limited public parking lots (closest is located at Union Station). Visit Google Maps for turn-by-turn directions.
Download the information packet (PDF, 52KB)
Security Procedures at Building Entrances and Exits
Metal detectors and/or other inspection systems are in place at the entrances to all federal buildings, including the Library of Congress. While security procedures are not as elaborate as at airports (you will not be asked to remove coats or shoes prior to initial screening), all metal objects must be removed from pockets. Computers and tablets will need to be removed from bags for screening too. Do not bring any weapons or explosives, including knives or other sharp objects to the Library. All bags must be opened for inspection when leaving the Library of Congress as well. This is a precautionary measure to protect the irreplaceable treasures in the Library’s collections. We appreciate your cooperation with these measures to protect your safety and ask you to plan your arrival time with security in mind.
No Smoking Policies
Washington, D.C., has “no smoking” policies in place for all workplaces, restaurants, and bars. Smoking is likewise prohibited in all Library of Congress buildings and near building entrances and air intakes.
Reader Identification Cards are available should you wish to conduct research while at the Library of Congress. Procedures for how to register for a complimentary card can be found at www.loc.gov/rr/readerregistration.html.
There are several food options in and around the Library.
Where to eat within two blocks of the Library (PDF, 73KB)