The Congressional Timeline, 1933 to Present
"In recent days, this Congress has also been assailed. I suppose it's part of the American tradition and becomes a favorite indoor sport. In recent days it has been described as hectic and hysterical. It has been charged with spite and partisanship. It has been charged with intent to destroy unity and spite with the President. It has been charged with madness and hate. That's all very interesting but it happens to be a parcel of nonsense and balderdash. To be exact, it is a lot of piddling twaddle and scarcely deserves an answer."
[Everett McKinley Dirksen, "A Congressman Looks at Congress," Appendix to the Congressional Record, July 8, 1943, A 3676, Dirksen Papers, Remarks and Releases]
The Congressional Timeline -- http://www.congressionaltimeline.org
-- developed and maintained by The Dirksen Congressional Center, arrays more than 550 of the nation's laws on a timeline beginning in 1933 and continuing to the present. A second timeline "band" depicts major political events of the period as a way to provide context for Congress's law-making.
Major Features of the Congressional Timeline [http://www.congressionaltimeline.org]:
• At the beginning date for each Congress, this timeline features session dates, number of recorded votes, total bills introduced and enacted, the partisan composition of both the House and the Senate, information about African-Americans and women serving in that Congress, and links to the presidential administration and to congressional leaders in that Congress. Click on January 3, 1985: 99th Congress, First Session, convenes" for an example.
• Click on any of the laws and you will see a brief summary of its provisions. In some cases, we link you to the full text of the law and related resources. For example, select July 2, 1964, the Civil Rights Act of 1964. There are links to a dozen historical documents, six photographs, and two videos--all related to the passage of that landmark legislation.
• The timeline is searchable in both the "legislation" and "events" bands. If you enter the word "labor" in the filter box for the legislation band and enter "management" in the yellow highlight box, the timeline will clear out all other laws except those that deal with labor. It also will highlight in yellow those that include "management."
That search finds these laws: Federal Fair Labor Standards Act (June 25, 1938), the Farm Labor Supply Act (April 29, 1943), the Employment Act of 1946 (February 20, 1946), the Taft-Hartley Labor-Management Relations Act (June 23, 1947), the Fair Labor Standards Act Amendments of 1949 (October 26, 1949), the Landrum-Griffin Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959 (September 14, 1959), the Equal Pay Act of 1963 (June 10, 1963), the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (December 29, 1970), and the Congressional Accountability Act of 1995 (January 23, 1995).
Note that the search will identify not only laws with the search words in the title but also laws that contain the terms in their descriptions. This is the case with the Employment Act of 1946, for example.
By selecting "Clear All," the timeline will revert to its original state.
There is a separate search feature for the "events" band which works the same way. We do not include descriptions with individual events, however.
• Navigation takes place in two ways. Scrolling from right to left or left to right moves you through the entire timeline seamlessly. But you can jump to a particular Congress by selecting it from the boxed list at the top of the timeline.
Lesson Plans Related to the Congressional Timeline:
The Dirksen Center will create lesson plans based on the timeline. We have prepared the following as an example and will list others as they become available:
• "The Japanese Americans Reparations Act of 1988
This lesson will introduce students to efforts by Congress to redress injustices to Japanese Americans and Aleut civilian residents committed during World War II. Students will learn about the circumstances surrounding the relocation of Japanese Americans in 1942. Students will compare the reasons for relocation with the justification for reparations in 1988.
Please contact Frank Mackaman
if you have suggestions or comments about the Congressional Timeline.