An Interview with Thomas S. Foley and Robert H. Michel

In this series of audio interviews, Yielding the Floor, former members relive their memories of people, places, and events in the Capitol. It is the Society’s hope that these recollections will provide listeners with a deeper appreciation for the human dimension of representative government in this temple of liberty we know as the United States Capitol. Providing inspiration for the series is a quotation by Daniel Webster that is inscribed above the gallery door on the south wall of the imposing House Chamber:

“Let us develop the resources of our land, call forth its powers, build up its institutions, promote all its great interests and see whether we also in our day may not perform something worthy to be remembered.”

Interview Conducted: June 14, 2006


  • Introduction: USCHS President, Ron Sarasin

  • 1: Impressions on first entering Congress; the oath of office

  • 2: Speaker Foley on the speakership; British antecedents

  • 3: Voting one’s conscience vs. following party leadership

  • 4: Contentious relations between parties today as compared to their time

  • 5: Partisanship and animosity in Congress today

  • 6: Debate on the Gulf War Resolution

  • 7: More on Congressional debates; Adam Clayton Powell; "we are part of history"

  • 8: Congressman Michel on Ford’s selection as Vice President; President Nixon’s resignation

  • 9: Peaceful change and transition of government