Was it a wise idea for the framers of the Constitution to design the Senate to filter the output of the sometimes hasty House?

The framers of the Constitution believed it would be wise to design the Senate to keep the passions of voters and representatives in check. In the Senate, legislation would be debated at length by representatives who would be less partial to their electorate than those in the House. The effect of this decision has lessened since the Constitution was written, as senators are now directly elected by their electorate.

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When considering this point, it is important to remember that senators were originally selected by state legislatures. It was not until the ratification of the 17th Amendment that the electorate started directly voting for their senators.

When the Constitution was being drafted, there were many arguments about just how much power the people should be given. There had never been a democracy of this kind. Many were concerned about what they called the tyranny of the mob. They were worried that the fickle passions of the voters and the representative in the House needed an element to put them in check. James Madison called the Senate a "necessary fence" against this. George Washington may have told Thomas Jefferson that the Senate could cool the passions of the House the way that a saucer cools hot tea.

In this sense, the Senate was seen as a place for the process of passing legislation to slow down and be debated by representatives less beholden to the masses. Furthermore, longer debates were and still are permitted in the Senate than in the House. This certainly seemed like a good idea at the time. With the Senate's role of checking the hastiness of the House, more informed and thought-out conclusions and laws could be made. However, now that senators are more directly responsible to the electorate, this effect has been diminished.

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