The Legislative branch

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  • Although the office of the President personifies American leadership, the Legislative branch was actually designed to hold at least as much power as the Executive, if not more. Many Founding Fathers envisioned Congress as the primary governing body, given its closeness, politically speaking, to the people. This program examines the origins, history, and activities of the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate. Topics include the roots of today's legislative branch in the Continental Congress of the Revolutionary period; the reasons why a bicameral legislature was ultimately deemed necessary; the unique characteristics of both legislative chambers; the specific functions of Congress, from writing and passing bills to ratifying treaties to declaring war; and more.


  • Encoded with permission for digital streaming by Films Media Group on Dec. 11, 2009.
  • Films on Demand is distributed by Films Media Group for Films for the Humanities & Sciences, Cambridge Educational, Meridian Education, and Shopware.
  • Mode of access: Internet.
  • System requirements: FOD playback platform.


  • The Origin of the Legislative Branch (1:21) -- The Responsibility of the Legislative Branch (1:00) -- Articles of Confederation (1:50) -- The Constitution of the United States (1:10) -- The House of Representatives (1:57) -- Standing Committees in the House of Representatives (1:56) -- The Senate (2:29) -- Notable Sentators (3:06) -- The Legislative Process (1:40) -- Presidential Approval (2:50)
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