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Traditions & Symbols

The U.S. Senate relies heavily on tradition and precedent. Many of its current rules, procedures, and traditions date from the First Congress in 1789.

Becoming a Senator and Organizing a New Congress

    Organizing a New Congress

            Orientation Programs
            The First Day of a New Congress Congressional Research Service Report (pdf)
             Congress' Early Organizational Meetings Congressional Research Service (pdf)
            Article 1, Section 3 Constitutional authority for dividing Senate into three classes.
            Amendment XX, Section 2 Constitutional Authority noting January 3rd as the opening day of a new Congress.
             Committee Assignment Process in the US Senate Congressional Research Service (pdf)
            Rule XXIV Standard Rules of the Senate: Committee Assignment

    Oath Taking

            Oath of Office
            The Oath Act May 5, 1789
            Senator Resigns to Protest Loyalty Oath January 29, 1864
        Laws and Rules
            Rule III Standing Rules of the Senate: Taking the Oath
            Article 6 Constitutional directive to take the Oath

    Members' Order-of-Service

            Members' Order-of-Service Numbers
            "Father of the Senate"
            Chronological List of All Senators (pdf)

On the Senate Floor


            Senators (current)
            Maiden Speeches April 19, 1906


            Floor Leaders' Right of Priority Recognition


            Officers and Staff

    Symbols on the Senate Floor

            Interactive Desk Exhibit
            Choosing Desks
            Candy Desk
             Golden Gavel Award
            Senate Gavels
            The Senate's New Gavel November 17, 1954

    Senate Floor Proceedings

            Start of Each Day's Session
            Chaplain's Prayer
            Pledge of Allegiance
            Senate Standing Rules
            Rules and Procedure
            Honoring Distinguished Visitors
            Presentation of Messages


            Seersucker Thursday
            Senate Bean Soup
            Naming of Buildings and Rooms
             Vice-Presidential Busts
            Senate Reception Room's "Famous Five" Now the "Famous Nine"
             Washington's Farewell Address February 22, 1862
            End-of-Session Valedictories and Eulogies
            Funerals and Memorial Services


        The Material Culture of the Senate
        Eagle and Shield
        Senate Flag
        Senate Seal
            Senate Seal, Mar 31, 1885
        Senate Snuff Boxes
            Snuff Box Cat. no. 93.00029.000
            Snuff Box Cat no. 93.00028.000

Related Publications

    Traditions of the United States Senate (pdf)

Related Links

    Art in the Senate |    History