Creating the United States Constitution


Republican purists and residents of large (geographic and population) states wanted representation to be based on population within states or some other contrived district. Those from smaller (geographic and population) states or who on principle wanted to restrict the power of the people wanted representation to be based solely on the state as an individual entity. The creative compromise of the delegates was to devise a bicameral (two-house) national legislature with one house (Senate) having equal representation from each state with the members chosen by the state legislatures and a second house (House of Representatives) having membership based on a proportional population formula and elected by the voters in the states. Where did this idea come from? »

Report of the Committee of Style, Representation section

Sect. 1. ALL legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.

Sect. 2. The House of Representatives shall be composed of members chosen every second year by the people of the several states, . . . Representatives and direct taxes shall be apportioned among the several states which may be included within this Union, according to their respective numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole number of free persons, including those bound to servitude service for a term of years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three-fifths of all other persons.

Report of the Committee of Style, Representation section

Sect. 3. The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two senators from each state, chosen by the legislature thereof, for six years: and each senator shall have one vote.