Subscribe to the Official Financial Highway Newsletter Here!

Leave a Comment

This one seems pretty obvious, but the founders believed that having good leaders would ensure the continuation of the republic. Go figure.

The founders had a lot to say about what constitutes a good leader however.  Their idea of a leader was more of a public servant-type figure, sacrificing much of their own life in order to properly serve the public. 

In fact, political positions were not meant to provide high salaries whatsoever. Their salaries were originally intended to pay a modest amount that covered the necessities, so as not to create a reason for seeking a political position other than to serve the public. It was an attempt to keep the public officials objective and focused on why they were there, which was simply to serve the people.

Things are a little different today than how they were meant to be, judging from this historical chart of congressional salaries below.

Historical Congressional Salaries
 

 

Speaker of the House,
President Pro Tempore of the Senate,

Years

Salary

Majority/Minority Leaders(1)

1789-1815

6.00 per diem(2)

1815-1817

1,500 per annum

1817-1855

8.00 per diem

1855-1865

$3,000 per annum

1865-1871

$5,000 per annum

1871-1873

$7,500 per annum

1873-1907

$5,000 per annum

1907-1925

$7,500 per annum

1925-1932

$10,000 per annum

1932-1933

$9,000 per annum

1933-1935

$8,500 per annum

1935-1947

$10,000 per annum

1947-1955

$12,500 per annum

1955-1965

$22,500 per annum

1965-1969

$30,000 per annum

$35,000 per annum

1969-1975

$42,500 per annum

$49,500 per annum

1975-1977

$44,600 per annum

$52,000 per annum

1977-1978

$57,500 per annum

$65,000 per annum

1979-1983

$60,662.50 per annum(3)

$68,575 per annum

1983

$69,800 per annum

1984

$72,600 per annum

1985-1986

$75,100 per annum

$85,000 per annum

1987 (1/1-2/3)

$77,400 per annum

$87,600 per annum

1987 (2/4)

$89,500 per annum

$99,500 per annum

1990 (2/1)

$98,400 per annum(4)

$109,500 per annum

1991

$101,900 per annum

$113,400 per annum

1991 (8/15)

$125,100 per annum(5)

$138,900 per annum

1992

$129,500 per annum(6)

$143,800 per annum

1993

$133,600 per annum

$148,400 per annum

1994

$133,600 per annum(7)

$148,400 per annum

1995

$133,600 per annum(8)

$148,400 per annum

1996

$133,600 per annum(9)

$148,400 per annum

1997

$133,600 per annum

$148,400 per annum

1998

$136,673 per annum (10)

$151,813 per annum

2000

$141,300 per annum (11)

$156,900 per annum for Leaders; $181,400 per annum for Speaker

2002

$150,000 per annum

$161,200 per annum for Leaders; $186,300 per annum for Speaker

2003

$154,700 per annum

$166,700 per annum for Leaders;
$192,600 per annum for Speaker

2004

$158,100 per annum

$175,700 per annum for Leaders; $203,000 per annum for Speaker

2005

$162,100 per annum

$180,100 per annum for Leaders; $208,100 per annum for Speaker

2006

$165,200 per annum

$183,500 per annum for Leaders;
$212,100 per annum for Speaker

2007

$168,000 per annum

$186,600 per annum for Leaders; $215,700 per annum for Speaker

 

Obtained from http://www.congresslink.org/print_basics_pay.htm

Source of Chart: Senate Historical Office and Senate Disbursing Office; Paul Dwyer, Salaries of Members of Congress, Report No. 95-898GOV, Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress, Washington, DC, December 11, 1995. Information for 2002: http://usgovinfo.miningco.com/library/weekly/aa031200a.htm. A Congressional Research Service Report on congressional salaries is located at http://www.senate.gov/reference/resources/pdf/RL30014.pdf. See also http://www.thecapitol.net/FAQ/payandperqs.htm