The U.S. president may get a lot of attention today, but back in 1787, Congress was the focal point. The nation’s founders considered the legislative, or lawmaking, branch of the government so important that they devoted almost the entire first half of the Constitution to establishing it—ahead of the presidency and the Supreme Court.
The founders set up Congress to give Americans a voice in the government. They created two chambers: the House of Representatives and the Senate. Representation in the House is based on state population,* while representation in the Senate is the same for every state—each gets two senators.
The biggest job of the House and Senate is to make laws for the entire country. But the Constitution also tasks Congress with everything from printing money to punishing pirates. (Yes, pirates!) Surprised? There’s actually a lot that many Americans don’t know about Congress, despite its key role in our government. Luckily, this guide will fill you in. Read on!