U.S. Congress - Business in United States of America

U.S. Congress: Laissez-Faire and Support for Business

U.S. Congress: The Growth of Activism

U.S. Congress: Presidential Leadership

Identification: Legislative branch of the federal government

Date: First met in 1789

Significance: As the lawmaking body of the U.S. national government, Congress is responsible for all legislation that affects American business. Its investigative powers and role in the appointment process also affect business.

Since the adoption of the U.S. Constitution in 1789, Congress has had a powerful impact on economic policy in the United States. That impact has generally increased, largely in response to economic problems such as depressions, business scandals, or the public’s desire to improve the social welfare of the American people. Members of Congress have generally been quite supportive of business interests, although some business leaders have been critical of some efforts at regulation or taxation.

John M. Theilmann

Further Reading

  • Arnold, R. Douglas. The Logic of Congressional Action. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1990. Develops a theory of congressional policy making with two chapters devoted to economic and tax policy. 
  • Burda, Joan M. An Overview of Federal Consumer Law. Chicago: American Bar Association, 1998. Practical guide prepared by the American Bar Association. A useful overview of the types of laws passed by Congress that affect business. 
  • Bureau of National Affairs. U.S. Environmental Laws. Washington, D.C.: Author, 1988. Compilation of laws passed by Congress that affect the environment. 
  • Davidson, Roger H., Walter J. Oleszak, and Frances E. Lee. Congress and Its Members. 11th ed. Washington, D.C.: CQ Press, 2007. Standard institutional analysis of Congress and its lawmaking activities. 
  • Gordon, John Steele. An Empire of Wealth. New York: Harper Collins, 2004. Comprehensive history of American economic development that often emphasizes the role of congressional action. 
  • Quirk, Paul J., and Sarah A. Binder, eds. The Legislative Branch. New York: Oxford University Press, 2005. Part of a three-volume set dealing with three branches of government. Several useful chapters concerning the legislative role of Congress and its impact on economic policy. 
  • Vogel, David. Fluctuating Fortunes. New York: Basic Books, 1989. Examination of the political power of American business. 

See also: U.S. Civil War; U.S. Presidency; Supreme Court and banking law; Supreme Court and commerce; Supreme Court and contract law; Supreme Court and labor law; Supreme Court and land law.

U.S. Constitution: The Constitution and Contract Law

U.S. Congress: Presidential Leadership

U.S. Congress: The Growth of Activism

Child labor: Legislation

Supreme Court and contract law

U.S. Constitution

Clayton Antitrust Act

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