Congress Is Back

Scholars study its history to understand its problems


AP Images

In 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson told the New Deal historian William Leuchtenburg, "I am not for denouncing Congress all the time. I am not like ... you writers who think of congressmen as archaic buffoons with tobacco drool running down their shirts."

For a long time, few historians of 20th-century America agreed with Johnson. For decades, Congress was a ghost in the historical imagination: usually absent in the best scholarship; when it did appear,