22 Historic Facts About the U.S. Congress Few Americans Know


Alhurra is an Arabic TV channel funded completely by the U.S. Congress and is forbidden from being aired in the US.

12U.S. Congress

U.S. Congress voted to pay George Washington $25,000 a year. He declined since he valued his image as a selfless public servant, but ultimately accepted to avoid a precedent where the presidency would be perceived as limited only to wealthy individuals who could serve without pay.

1327th amendment

The 27th amendment to the Constitution, which restricts the ability of Congress to raise its own pay, was ratified in 1992, more than 200 years after the first state-approved it in 1789.


Wikipedia had to ban IP's from Congress to stop them from changing each other’s entries.


The word “Idaho” is completely meaningless. The lobbyist who suggested the name lied about it being a Shoshone word for “gem of the mountains” and Congress didn’t bother verifying the claim.

16Jeannette Rankin

After Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, only one member of Congress out of 470 was against the war. The dissenting vote was given by Jeannette Rankin, the first woman elected to Congress. “As a woman, I can’t go to war, and I refuse to send anyone else.” She was mobbed and had to hide in a phone booth until Congressional police came.

17Walter Washington

When Walter Washington, the first mayor of Washington D.C. and first African-American mayor of major US city, sent his proposed budget to Congress, Democratic Representative John L. McMillan sent a truckload of watermelons to his office in response.

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18Metric system

In 1927 several million people in the United States sent over 100,000 petitions backed by the Metric Association and The General Federation of Women's Clubs urging Congress to adopt the metric system. The petition was opposed by the manufacturing industry, citing the cost of the conversion.

19George Washington

Due to American Public Law 94-479, by the 94th Congress, George Washington is protected from being outranked by any officer in the past, present, and future. Therefore if there’s a 6-star general, Washington is automatically upgraded to 7.

20Drinking age

The US drinking age was raised from 18 to 21 due to the efforts of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). They successfully lobbied Congress to create a law that imposed a federal penalty on any state that did not comply.


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