Hearings in the
U.S. Congress
Ordinary Deliberation in America's Legislature

by Catherine F. Smith
Syracuse University


In this webtext, Congressional hearings are presented as discourse events in the everyday life of a democratic governmental institution.

The first event is a treaty deliberation in the first federal Congress on August 22, l789. The scene is the Senate, where the senators met in executive session to deliberate a draft treaty with southern Indian confederacies. Outside the Senate door, a Cherokee delegation waited.

The web is a scholarly monograph composed for the World Wide Web. This scholarly web's purpose is documentary interpretation, or interpretation of real-time rhetorical action in an historical event as we can know it from records of the event. To show how records frame knowledge of events, the web adds commentary on historical processes of producing, receiving, and using public records.

The web is about government. Whether teachers or students, global watchers of television's C-SPAN and similar public affairs networks, elected officials, or professional staff in government, many of us wish we knew more about how government actually works. This web speaks to that wish.

This web was peer-reviewed by Todd Taylor and Richard Selfe of the Kairos  Editorial Board.

Contact Catherine Smith by e-mail
Catherine F. Smith is an associate professor of Writing (jointly appointed to English and Textual Studies) at Syracuse University. She teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in World Wide Web rhetoric and communication. Her current research interests, related to teaching and training, include hypertext theory; the history of writing technologies; the rhetorical analysis of Internet uses; the history of public discourse in the US Congress; and comparative rhetorical history of emerging democratic institutions.

Note: There are no external links in this webtext.



Kairos: A Journal for Teachers of Writing in Webbed Environments.
Vol. 3 No. 1 Spring 1998