In this website, 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 event is represented hypertextually. Historical primary sources--official and unofficial sources for the Senate, written and unwritten sources for the Cherokee delegation--are reproduced. Discourse analysis is provided, along with description of the method of analysis.

The web is a scholarly monograph composed for the World Wide Web. My academic disciplinary interests are in the study of written composition, social and cultural study of historical rhetoric, and analysis of public discourse. 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.

Depending on your interests, in this web you might wish to read historical documents, or analysis, or some of both. Links between source texts and commentary are provided to encourage reading back and forth.

I am the web's author, which means I selected, reproduced, and arranged the historical sources and wrote the analytic commentaries based on my research on Congressional hearings as well as my background in teaching writing and training communicators in government.

Glad you're here. Enjoy. I'd welcome hearing from you.

Catherine F. Smith