Congressional Pay

Constitution Sunday: Nathaniel Barrell, a “Plain Husbandman,” Warns of the Passion for Power, but Favors Ratification

February 5, 1788 Massachusetts Ratifying Convention The draft Constitution had its parts that inspired and other parts that terrified. Nathaniel Barrell, either as a sign of his modesty or as a way to relate to his fellow residents of Massachusetts, claimed that he would not speak with the eloquence of a Cicero but would articulate […]


An Outraged America

In March 1816, Congress passed a Compensation Act, “which raised the pay of congressmen from six dollars per diem to a salary of fifteen hundred dollars a year.” Gordon Wood, Empire of Liberty, 718-19. This was the first raise in the pay for congressmen since 1789. Id. at 719. Robert Wright, a Congressman in 1816, and previously […]