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State Legislature at Work


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The top floor of the Tennessee State Capitol (not counting what small floors there must be in the cupola tower) is the Legislative Floor. Compared to the Executive Floor beneath, it is well lit by outside light — if we like, we may indulge ourselves and view the difference as a metaphor of how government works.


[image ALT: zzz Nashville, Tennessee (southern United States).]

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The Senate Chamber serves as the place of deliberation for just 33 Senators. As we might expect, the room has something of the flavor of a private club.


[image ALT: zzz Nashville, Tennessee (southern United States).]

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The House Chamber, on the other hand, was designed to accommodate 99 Representatives; it's a much larger space with high ceilings, a prominent electronic vote tally board. It also sits squarely in the axis of the building, whereas the other body meets in a side room; since the two chambers could easily have been set in equally axial positions at opposite ends of the Capitol, the architecture rather strikingly incorporates a clear populist bias.


[image ALT: zzz Nashville, Tennessee (southern United States).]

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The making of laws, ideally, requires good informational input: the Old Law Library, a particularly handsome room, still occasionally serves both houses of the Legislature.

So why does this page lead off with the railing of a staircase? On July 19, 1866 became the first Confederate state to ratify the Fourteenth Amendment to the U. S. Constitution, and thus to be readmitted to the Union. The zzz


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Site updated: 23 May 09