The United States Senate has frequently been called “the world’s greatest deliberative body.” In 1855, the United Kingdom’s House of Commons was called “the greatest deliberative body that the world knows.” In 1859, the United States Congress was called “the greatest deliberative body in the world.” In 1867, ex-president James Buchanan called the Senate “the greatest deliberative body in the world.”
The name “"world’s greatest deliberative body” is currently used mostly in a highly sarcastic sense.
Wikipedia: United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution (which does not use the terms “upper” and “lower").Each U.S state is represented by two senators, regardless of population. Senators serve staggered six-year terms. The chamber of the United States Senate is located in the north wing of the Capitol, in Washington, D.C., the national capital. The House of Representatives convenes in the south wing of the same building.
The Senate has several exclusive powers not granted to the House, including consenting to treaties as a precondition to their ratification and consenting or confirmation of appointments of Cabinet secretaries, federal judges, other federal executive officials, military officers, regulatory officials, ambassadors, and other federal uniformed officers, as well as trying federal officials impeached by the House. The Senate is both a more deliberative and more prestigious body than the House of Representatives, due to its longer terms, smaller size, and statewide constituencies, which historically led to a more collegial and less partisan atmosphere. The Senate is often described as the “world’s greatest deliberative body”.
26 December 1855, London Nonconformist, pg. 920, col. 1:
Mr. ROEBUCK, M.P., having been asked by the Chairman if he wished to address the Board, rose and said:
Add to this a man who has been trained for twenty-three years in the greatest deliberative body that the world knows (House of Commons—ed.), and you will probably think he has had an experience in duration and kind which peculiarly fits him for discharging the duties of your chairman.
19 December 1859, Albany (NY) Evening Journal, “From Washington,” pg. 2:
While this delay is going on, Mr. Allen, who suddenly finds himself the presiding officer of the greatest deliberative body in the world, the Doorkeeper, Sergeant-at-Arms, Postmaster and their subordinates, and the pages selected by the last Congress, are having a good time at the expense of the government.
25 January 1860, Raleigh (NC) Weekly Standard, pg. 3, col. 5:
THE CONDITION OF THE HOUSE.—One of the Washington correspondents of the New York Herald says:
‘The galleries are daily appealed to in general forms by inflammatory arguments, and often in language direct. To-day, so loosely was the business of the House conducted, that the members themselves presented more the appearance of a disorganized mob than that of the greatest deliberative body in the world;...”
29 March 1867, New York (NY) Times, “A Letter From Ex-President Buchanan,” pg. 1:
He was a statesman who, for sound, practical wisdom, for far-seeing sagacity, and for lucid and convincing argument, had no superior in the Senate, even at the period when it was the greatest deliberative body in the world.
30 May 1890, Maysville (KY) Evening Bulletin, pg. 2, col. 1:
THE Philadelphia Record thinks that “Kentucky is a model Commonwealth in man yrespects, and she gives proof of her magnanimity by sending her most deserving sons to the Senate of the United States. If this example should be imitated by other States the Senate would soon become what it ought to be—the greatest deliberative body in the world,” adds the Record.
23 December 1890, St. Paul (MN) Daily Globe, pg. 4, col. 7:
The United States senate has been made the scene of a confidence man’s operations, and he would have been “working” the greatest deliberative body in the world yet, had he not, in an unlucky moment, decided to make a victim of Senator Manderson, of Nebraska.
20 November 1921, Atlanta (GA) Constitution, “Republican fears,” pg. C4:
The public is simply disgusted with peanut policies in the world’s greatest deliberative body and the Republicans who control that body are justly being held ...
3 March 1929, New York (NY) Times, ‘Senate at last will have light an air” by WIlliam D. Hassett, pg. XX10:
THE original American thermos bottle is going to be uncorked. And in this unbottling process the world’s greatest deliberative body will be exposed to natural light and free air.
14 June 1937, Life magazine, “Garner summons Senate to business,” pg. 17 photo caption:
For “the world’s greatest deliberative body,” having spent the last five months doing virtually nothing, now buckles down to a long, hot summer of work.
A twentieth-century Congress
By Estes Kefauver and Jack Levin
New York, NY: Essential Books, Duell, Sloan and Pearce
The popular description of the Senate as the “world’s greatest deliberative body” becomes a farce and mockery as abuse of these privileges goes unchecked session after session.
1 November 1968, Life magazine, “Some choices for a better Congress,” pg. 32, col. 2:
The Senate may or may not be “the world’s greatest deliberative body,” but it is a most powerful and independent one.
8 January 1979, New York magazine, “The Class of ‘79: Face-off in the Senate” by Jack Germond and Jules Witcover, pg. 12, col. 1:
The veterans called themselves, as they do today, “the World’s Greatest Deliberative Body.” Only then, nobody laughed.
The World’s Greatest Deliberative Body
Monday, Jul. 05, 1993
“Now is the time to kill the ‘Taxasaurus’ monster! Kill the dinosaur, kill him now! If you don’t, he’s going to eat more jobs. So take this lead pencil and give him lead poisoning. Kill him!”
SENATOR ALFONSE D’AMATO (R., N.Y.), STABBING “TAXASAURUS” DRAWING WITH OVERSIZE PENCIL DURING BUDGET DEBATE
Taegan Goddard’s Political Wire
August 02, 2010
The World’s Greatest Deliberative Body?
In a must-read New Yorker piece on the often dysfunctional U.S. Senate, former Senate Majority Leader Tom Dashle (D) “sketched a portrait of the contemporary senator who is too busy to think.”
NYTimes.com: Opinionator Blog
August 11, 2010, 6:25 pm
The Mirthless Senate
By TIMOTHY EGAN
The United States Senate, which still flatters itself with the misnomer “the world’s greatest deliberative body,” counts a former Major League Baseball player, an organic wheat farmer, far too many lawyers and a member who describes herself as a mom in tennis shoes among its select 100.
New York City • Government/Law/Politics/Military • (0) Comments • Thursday, August 12, 2010 • Permalink