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Why did the Framers of the Constitution create a bicameral legislature?

arichardson27's profile pic

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Why did the Framers of the Constitution create a bicameral legislature?

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pohnpei397's profile pic

Posted (Answer #1)

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The Framers of the Constitution created a bicameral legislature as part of their efforts to create separation of powers and to, more generally, make it harder for the government to do anything.

The Framers were very concerned about the ability of the government to tyrannize the people.  They worried that a government that could act easily would get caught up in popular passions and make decisions that would either be tyrannical or simply bad for the country.  In order to make it less likely that the government would act so quickly and "badly" the Framers created a bicameral legislature. Such a legislature would make it harder for any law to pass because proposed laws would have to pass both houses, which would have different constituencies and terms of different lengths.

In short, then, the point of this was to make government less efficient and, therefore, less dangerous.

speamerfam's profile pic

Posted (Answer #2)

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This method also was meant to balance the powers of geography, population, and what I would call the big picture and the little picture.

In the House, representation is based upon population in a fairly small geographical area, ensuring that there are people who are expected to represent the interests of their "local" communities. With a certain limited number of people from one small geographical area to represent, it was thought that these representatives would better reflect the local interests.  This also had the effect of diluting the influence of more highly populated states, since each district is made up of approximately the same number of people.  A Congressman from a district in Texas has no more or less power than a Congressman from New Hampshire.

The Senate, on the other hand, smooths out the differences in population and geography, giving each state equal power in decision-making, no matter how many people are in the state and no matter how large or small the state is geographically. Thus in the Senate, California and Vermont have equal representation.  At least theoretically, each senator is expected to have more of a big picture in mind, considering the people of the entire state and considering the nation as a whole. 

This was a well thought out plan, in spite of the fact that we have been experiencing so much gridlock in recent years.  And I am not aware of any government in the world that has worked out a better way to set up a government. 


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