American History

Early American legislative bodies naturally followed the British tradition in form and procedure. Thus, Sergeants-at-Arms have always been an integral part of the legislative process at both the state and federal level.


U.S. Capitol, Washington, D.C.When the first Congress convened in 1789, the Office of Doorkeeper was established to keep a majority of members in the Capitol long enough to organize and begin the business of government.


During the first six years Senate sessions were private, thus it was necessary for the Doorkeeper to control access to sessions. Later, when the sessions were open to the public, the Doorkeeper was responsible for maintaining order on the Floor of the Senate and in the galleries. The title of Sergeant-at-Arms was added in 1798 to reflect the expanded administrative duties of the position.