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Free Citizen

This writer espouses individual liberty, free markets, and limited government.

Location: Jackson, Mississippi, United States

Saturday, April 17, 2010

The United States Senate

A commenter at Ballot Access News says, "The... U.S.A. Senate is one of the most ANTI-Democracy legislative bodies in the so-called free world..."

"Democracyā€¯ was a cussword to the Founding Fathers, who established a republic. Having a Senate comprised of two members from each state was part of the compromise that enabled the Constitution to be adopted. The small states wanted this provision in order to prevent the large states from running roughshod over them.

James Madison, often called the "Father of the Constitution," wanted the Senate, like the House of Representatives, to be based on population, but he obviously lost out on that.

Once the founders decided that they wanted one-third of the Senate to be elected every two years, they had to determine whether they wanted the Senate terms to be six years or nine years. They finally concluded that nine years was too long, and they settled on six years.

While the House has always been popularly elected, senators were originally elected by the state legislatures. The founders implemented this as the state governments' main check on the federal government; senators were considered to be "ambassadors" from the state governments to the national government. Effective on May 31, 1913, however, the 17th Amendment to the Constitution established direct election of senators.

For years, a single senator could stop a measure from becoming law, and the federal government remained quite small. But the cloture rule was adopted in 1917[1], and the Welfare State has developed in the years since.

That a##hole Woodrow Wilson, of course, was president when both the 17th Amendment and the cloture rule took effect.


[1] Starting in 1917, a filibuster could be ended by invoking cloture with a two-thirds vote of the Senate. In 1974, during the Watergate scandal, the two-thirds requirement was lowered to three-fifths.


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