Congress Goes Home Again

In Philadelphia, the legislature celebrates its conception

If the U.S. Congress can be said to have a birthday, it must be July 16, 1787, when a Great Compromise brought the bicameral legislature into being. Two hundred years later, 25 Senators and 181 Representatives rolled north from Washington on a special 14-car train to a red-white-and-blue- buntinged Philadelphia in honor of the occasion. The original event at the Constitutional Convention was the resolution of a big state-little state fight that, presto, gave states equal standing in the Senate and strength reflecting population in the House. The anniversary proved a high point of Philadelphia's occasionally turbulent Bicentennial festivities.

Although the...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!