Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Congress (Lat. congredior), a meeting of delegates for the purpose of discussing questions, with a certain power of adopting measures which depend for their validity upon subsequent ratification by the delegating bodies. The Congress of Vienna in 1814-15 is an instance in point. The congress exists in other than political matters; the Social Science Congress and the annual Church Congress are instances. In the United States of America the word denotes the central legislative body of the Union, consisting of the Senate and House of Representatives. The American Congress resembles, in many respects, in its functions and action the British Parliament, though many topics which come before the latter are, under a Federal system, reserved for the State Legislatures. An Act of Congress is a legislative enactment of the two Houses, ratified by the President.