In the beginning, a simple majority ended debate in the House and Senate
In 1806, the Senate eliminated any mechanism to end debate
The modern filibuster is Woodrow Wilson's fault
- Before 1917, the Senate could debate endlessly on any topic or bill — a natural filibuster that meant a vote could be delayed conceivably forever. Then President Woodrow Wilson suggested a two-thirds vote rule to shut down a filibuster, in part because of a shipping bill that was being held up, about which he said: "A little group of willful men, representing no opinion but their own, have rendered the great government of the United States helpless and contemptible."
The Treaty of Versailles to end World War I was its first test
- A two-thirds vote ended debate in 1919 and brought the treaty to a vote, where it was ratified.
Filibuster rules about continual speaking made it 'democracy's finest show'
Strom Thurmond holds the record for filibustering for more than 24 hours
- In a failed attempt to block the Civil Rights Act.
The rule has broken some men
Speaking isn't required for a filibuster anymore, but people sometimes do it anyway
And it's still used as a dramatic device in Hollywood
Little used for most of the republic's history, filibustering has skyrocketed