Argumentative Essay On Filibusters

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In recent years, the U.S. Senate has been embroiled in a countless number of filibusters

which have a long history in the U.S. Congress. To supporters of the filibuster, such political

procedures play an important role in a democratic society. They believe that the filibuster

embodies the spirits of democracy to protect the minority from oppression in the United States.

Reformers or skeptics of the filibuster, on the other hand, believe that filibusters sometimes

severely hinder the operations of the government. Although people have witnessed many

filibusters in history, the number of filibusters in the past few years surprised and infuriated

many in America. In 2014, President Obama reprimanded Republicans for having “filibustered
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The minority starts a filibuster by extending a debate or by making long

speeches, which usually takes hours. Senators treat filibusters as bargaining chips to negotiate

with the majority, which dominates the Senate with more senators elected. Because “the Senate

has no Rules Committee and instead determines the length and structure of its debates by

unanimous consent agreement” (English 109), the definition of filibuster varies. It usually

depends on the context of debates between parties on specific bills. Senators can regard any

speeches delivered by the opposition as filibusters, if they believe that those speeches are

intended to delay the voting of a bill. Filibustering in the Senate has its origin back to “the

1850s” (“Filibuster and Cloture”), yet many landmark filibusters happened in the 20th century.

For instance, in 1957 “South Carolina Senator Strom Thurmond spoke continuously for twenty-

four hours and eighteen minutes to prevent the passage of civil rights legislation. Thurmond still

holds the record for the longest filibuster” (English 110). However, because of the time-

consuming characteristic of filibusters, debates over changing the regulations to curtail
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