Why was the Senate formed? Why was it formed the way it was formed?

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cburr | Middle School Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

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The Senate was formed to appeal to the smaller states that were worried that the more populous states would end up controlling everything.

As the Congress is designed, the Senate is intended to be the wiser and more steady group.  There are only 100 members, and each member has to represent a whole state (and, as a result, a wide range of interests).  Also, Senators get to serve a 6 year term before they have to be re-elected.  So, they are free to look at the big picture.  Finally, only 1/3 of the Senate is campaigning for re-election every 2 years, so as a whole the Senate is stable.

The House, on the other hand, was designed to be close to the people.  There are 435 members, spread around the states according to population.  So, each member of the House represents a smaller area (except in states like Vermont where there is only one House member for the whole state).  Most important, House members have to be re-elected every two years, and the whole House is up for re-election at the same time.  So, the fact that they are basically always campaigning keeps them closer to the people. 

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mrscmj | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

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When the delegates met at the Constitutional Convention to create a new Constitution for the U.S., delegates came to the Convention with different ideas on how to set up the legislature.  Under the Articles of Confederation (The United State's first constitution), the national government had consisted of only a legislative branch with a one house Congress.  The Virginia delegates at the convention proposed a plan for the new government.  James Madison had designed what became known as the Virginia Plan.  The Virginia Plan called for a government with three branches of government with a legislature divided into two houses.  In each house, states would be represented on the basis of their population.  More people=more representation in Congress.  The VA Plan appealed to the larger states.  The small states, however, feared that a government dominated by the large states would ignore their interests.  William Paterson of NJ proposed an alternative plan.  The NJ Plan, as it is known, also called for 3 branches of government.  However, the legislature would have only one house and each state would get one vote.  The smaller states liked this plan because it made their states equal in power to the big states.

For weeks the delegates debated the merits of the 2 plans.  Neither side wanted to give in.  A committee headed by Roger Sherman of CT finally came up with an answer.  The committee proposed that Congress have 2 houses-a Senate and a House of Representatives.  Each state would have equal representation in the Senate, which  pleased the small states.  In the House, representation would be based on population, which pleased the big states.  After much discussion, the delegates decided to accept Sherman's plan.  Historians called Sherman's plan the CT Compromise or the Great Compromise.

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shazza61 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

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In 1787 a group of distinguished gentlemen met in Philadelphia to revise the Articles of Confederation.  Instead they created a new plan of government called the Constitution.  There was much debate about how the national government should look.  In the end they reached a compromise (The Great Compromise).  Government would have three branches – executive, legislative, and judicial; the legislative branch would be bicameral with the upper house having equal votes, and in the lower house representation would be based on each state’s population.  This arrangement satisfied both large and small states.

The upper house is called the Senate, and lower house is known as the House of Representatives.  The Great Compromise is a blend of the Virginia Plan and the New Jersey Plan.

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ms-mcgregor | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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The United States Senate was formed as a way to equalize the say of each individual state and as a way to counter any "mob rule" of the House of Representatives. Each state receives only two senators no matter how large or how small it is. Thus, the power which large states have in the House of Representatives, in which states receive numbers of House members based on a states' population, is mitigated in the Senate where each state is limited to two senators each. At the time of the Constitutional convention, many feared that the House would be open to "mob rule" because the members were elected by the general population. In order to prevent the House from being taken over by the uneducated, general population, senators were chosen by state legislatures. This helped insure that senators would be more conservative and likely members of the educated, upper classes. Eventually, a constitutional amendment changed the way senators were chosen and now all Congressional members are chosen by popular vote.

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alohaspirit | Middle School Teacher | (Level 2) Assistant Educator

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The Senate is apart of our Congress.  This was formed as part of the Great Compromise at the Constitutional Convention of 1787.  The Compromise was a way to satisfy the debate over representation based on population.  The big states wanted more seats in Congress since they consisted of larger population.  The small states wanted equal number of seats among all states to keep a balance of power.  The Compromise was the House of Representatives to be based on the ideal of represenation based on population, so this satisfied the big states.  The Senate was based on equal representation, where every state has two seats in the Senate regardless of size; this statisfied the small states. 

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shemsham | High School Teacher | (Level 3) eNoter

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Representatives from the smaller states did not want larger states like Virginia or New York to dominate the national politics. They compromised by creating the upper house with equal representation from each state.The Senate was created as a continous body ,in that way only a maximum of one-third would be up for re-election every two years.

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