The Legislative Branch of Federal Government
People, Process, and Politics
by Gary P. Gershman
August 2008, 511pp, 7x10
1 volume, ABC-CLIO

Hardcover: 978-1-85109-712-8
$96, £74, 84€, A132
eBook Available: 978-1-85109-717-3
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

In just the past decade, the U.S. Congress has pursued investigations and impeachment, overhauled welfare and Medicare, declared war, wrestled with ethics issues, worked in bipartisan spirit and dissolved in partisan rancor. And in this media age, the inner workings (and very different styles) of the House and Senate have been exposed to the public like never before.

This volume focuses on the U.S. Congress, its history, constitutional powers, daily workings, and the politics that affect its operation.

Spanning the history of the federal system of government of the United States, The Legislative Branch of Federal Government: People, Process, and Politics looks at the evolution of the U.S. Congress over the past 225+ years, then describes its current structure, responsibilities, and daily operations.

Readers will learn how congressional powers have changed with different interpretations of the Constitution, how a colorful gallery of power brokers (famous and infamous) made its mark, and how politics (both electoral and within the Capitol) affects legislation, oversight efforts, and other actions. The volume includes a “mini-pedia” of alphabetically organized entries and the concluding chapter highlights some fascinating examples of interactions between Congress and the other branches of federal government.


  • Sidebars highlight fascinating people, events, and congressional actions, including the infamous "caning" incident between Senators Brooks and Sumner during the post–Civil War reconstruction
  • Primary sources include Article I of the Constitution; the articles of impeachment against Andrew Johnson, Richard Nixon, and Bill Clinton; the Contract with America; and other important documents
Gary P. Gershman, PhD, is assistant professor of history and legal studies in the Division of Humanities at Nova Southeastern University, Fort Lauderdale, FL. His published works include ABC-CLIO's Death Penalty on Trial.


"An up-to-date resource worthy of the highest recommendation for public library collections."—Midwest Book Review, October 1, 2008

"This readable volume will be valuable for reports on American history and government."—School Library Journal, December 1, 2008

"This work provides a useful and well-written introduction to the historical and contemporary structures, powers, and people of Congress."—ARBA, March 1, 2009

"This timely new offering from ABC-CLIO 's About Federal Government series will provide legal, public administration, political science, and history students as well as interested readers with a unique and in-depth examination of the daily operations of the legislative branch of the U.S. government within the context of its historical evolution. . . . Gersham's command of the subject is noteworthy and his narrative engaging. . . . Gersham's book will fill an important gap in the reference literature and it will serve as a welcome addition to American historiography. Well written, thorough, and without rival in its coverage and scope, this will undoubtedly become the premier reference encyclopedia on the subject. As such, it is highly recommended for all undergraduate and large public libraries."—Reference & User Services Quarterly, June 24, 2009
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