Guest Essayist: Joseph M. Knippenberg


In Federalist #62 and #63, Publius (the pseudonym adopted by authors Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay) makes the case for and deals with objections to the Senate as the second of Congress’ two legislative chambers.  Then, as now, our author (in this case, scholars presume, James Madison) has to address a presumption in favor of straightforward and simple democracy, which would mandate a popularly elected legislature, offering proportional representation, whose members serve terms short enough to remind them of their dependence upon the voters.  While those characteristics adequately describe the House of Representatives, Senators were then to be elected indirectly, by state legislatures, for relatively long (six year) terms.  What’s more, each state was entitled to two Senators, so that the largest states had no more influence in that chamber than the smallest states.

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