This introductory chapter talks about Congress's imprint on American society and life as driven by the aches, anxieties and headlines of the day. But instead of dwelling on aspirations, processes, and optics, it looks at the effects or results of congressional activities. Going as far back as 1789, the chapter examines Congress's distinctive imprint on American society from those of the presidency, cradling the analysis in the experience of peer countries. These congressionl imprints include the launching of the country in the 1790s, the coming of the regulatory state, the rise of the United States to world power, the onsetof economic neoliberalism, and the management of federal debt and deficits.
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