The United States Senate Chamber

Hassan, Margaret Wood – (D – NH) Class III 324 Hart Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510 T: (202) 224-3324 W: www.hassan.senate.gov/content/contact-senator


Shaheen, Jeanne – (D – NH) Class II 506 Hart Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510 T: (202) 224-2841 W: www.shaheen.senate.gov/contact/contact-jeanne

Glossary Term | Class


class – Article I, section 3 of the Constitution requires the Senate to be divided into three classes for purposes of elections.  Senators are elected to six-year terms, and every two years the members of one class—approximately one-third of the senators—face election or reelection.  Terms for senators in Class I expire in 2025, Class II in 2021, and Class III in 2023.    

Qualifications & Terms of Service


Constitutional Qualifications

image: U.S. Constitution

The Constitution sets three qualifications for service in the U.S. Senate: age (at least thirty years of age); U.S. citizenship (at least nine years); and residency in the state a senator represents at time of election. The details of these qualifications were hammered out by the Constitution’s framers during the Constitutional Convention in 1787.


Terms of Service

image: Section 3 of the Constitution

Article I, section 3 of the Constitution requires the Senate to be divided into three classes for purposes of elections. Senators are elected to six-year terms, and every two years the members of one class–approximately one-third of the senators–face election or reelection.

Class I | Class II | Class III


Oath of Office

image: Thomas Oath of Office

The Constitution does not provide an oath of office for members of Congress, but specifies only that they “shall be bound by Oath of Affirmation to support this constitution.” The oath of office that one-third of the Senate recites every two years is a product of the 1860s, drafted by Civil War-era members intent on ensnaring traitors. The oath-taking, however, dates back to the First Congress in 1789. The first oath served the Senate for nearly three-quarters of a century. The current oath, in use since 1884, is a milder version of the oath adopted in 1862.

Facts & Milestones


Senate Service & Accomplishments

image: William Maclay

Appointed SenatorsChairmen of Senate Standing Committees (pdf) • Longest Serving SenatorsNew Senators (2001-Present)Senate Freshmen since Direct Election (1914)Senate Salaries (1789-Present)Senators (1789 to Present)Senators who have Cast more than 10,000 VotesSenators who have Delivered Washington’s Farewell Address


Political Parties

image: Robert Y. Hayne

Senators Representing Third or Minor PartiesSenators who Changed Parties during Senate Service (since 1890)


Diversity in the Senate

image: Blanche K. Bruce

Ethnic Diversity in the SenateForeign-born SenatorsWomen Senators


Government Service Outside the Senate

image: James Monroe

Senators who Became PresidentSenators who Served as AmbassadorsSenators who Served on the Supreme Court


Military & Professional Service

image: U.S. Constitution

Marines in the SenatePhysicians in the SenateSenators who Served in WWII


Awards, Honors, and Medals

image: Medal of Freedom

Senators who Won the Nobel Peace PrizeSenators Depicted on U.S. Postage StampsSenators who have Participated in the Olympic GamesSenators who Received the Congressional Gold MedalSenators who Received the Congressional Medal of HonorSenators who Received the Presidential Medal of Freedom


Other

image: John Hollis Bankhead II

Books Written by Sitting SenatorsSenators who have Served Simultaneously with Siblings (Senate or House) Images: “Golden Gavel” Award; “They Won’t Agree on Anything” September 24, 1922; Blanche Kelso Bruce; Oliver Ellsworth; Daniel K. Inouye; Edward Brooke Congressional Gold Medal; Senators Edward M. Kennedy and Robert F. Kennedy