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
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
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.
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
• Appointed Senators • Chairmen of Senate Standing Committees (pdf) • Longest Serving Senators • New 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 Votes • Senators who have Delivered Washington’s Farewell Address
Diversity in the Senate
Government Service Outside the Senate
Military & Professional Service
Awards, Honors, and Medals
• Senators who Won the Nobel Peace Prize • Senators Depicted on U.S. Postage Stamps • Senators who have Participated in the Olympic Games • Senators who Received the Congressional Gold Medal • Senators who Received the Congressional Medal of Honor • Senators who Received the Presidential Medal of Freedom
• Books Written by Sitting Senators • Senators 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