Senate Democrats

This Week in Senate History

Senate Chamber, 1877

Thanks to the Senate Historical Office’s staff, serves as a great online resource. Staffers, Senators and history buffs can explore the evolution of the role of the Senate and important moments in its history.    This week in the Senate’s history the chamber witnessed a number of interesting changes. On March 4, 1789, the Senate convened for the first time. Only eight of the twelve members necessary to form a quorum appeared in the new chamber at New York City’s Federal Hall. As a result, the Senate reconvened periodically until more than a month later — on April 6 — when the twelfth member presented his credentials.    Seventy-eight years later, the Senate created a Committee on Appropriations so that legislative committees would not be responsible for both appropriating and authorizing funds.    On March 5, 1877, the Senate began the practice of moving desks according to party affiliation rather than keeping an even number of desks on each side of the center aisle.