No spitting on the Senate floor, sir!


I found this little gem on our shelves today while browsing.
I wonder if the manuscript note on the flyleaf is correct (“Jefferson’s own copy.”)? Perhaps the Library of Congress, who is reconstructing his library as we speak, would be able to tell me.
When Thomas Jefferson became vice president in 1797, he also became presiding officer of the U.S. Senate. He decided to compile a manual of legislative procedure as a guide for him and for future presiding officers, and also with an eye to minimizing senators’ criticism of rulings from the chair. The Virginia polymath sets forth rules of order and procedure–probably more dictating to the legislature than would be tolerated from a president these days. The work is comprehensive, covering everything from daily order to rules, quorums, motions, bills, conferences, treaties, impeachment, and much, much more. For example, in order to bring some decorum to debates, Jefferson instructs that “no one is to disturb another in his speech by hissing, coughing, spitting, speaking or whispering to another.”
(Thanks to the catalogers at the Reese Company for this description).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.