A Journal for Western Man

 

The Ideas of America's Founders:

The Bicameral Legislature

G. Stolyarov II

Issue CVIII - June 20, 2007

-----------------------------------

Principal Index

-----------------------------------

Old Superstructure

-----------------------------------

Old Master Index

-----------------------------------

Contributors

-----------------------------------

The Rational Business Journal

-----------------------------------

Forum

-----------------------------------

Yahoo! Group

-----------------------------------

Gallery of Rational Art

-----------------------------------

Online Store

-----------------------------------

Henry Ford Award

-----------------------------------

Johannes Gutenberg Award

-----------------------------------

CMFF: Fight Death

-----------------------------------

Eden against the Colossus

-----------------------------------

A Rational Cosmology

-----------------------------------

Implied Consent

-----------------------------------

Links

-----------------------------------

Mr. Stolyarov's Articles on Helium.com

-----------------------------------

Mr. Stolyarov's Articles on Associated Content

-----------------------------------

Mr. Stolyarov's Articles on GrasstopsUSA.com

-----------------------------------

Submit/Contact

-----------------------------------

Statement of Policy

-----------------------------------

 

            America’s Founding Fathers designed a bicameral legislative branch with serious and specific considerations in mind. Their reasons for doing so were not arbitrary, and it is vitally important to examine the deep, innovative thinking behind the design of House of Representative and the Senate.

            To mitigate the possibility of the legislature extending its power over the other branches of the government, the framers divided it into two parts and gave each different modes of election and principles of action (Federalist 51).

            Of the two branches of Congress, the House of Representatives was designed to be the most responsive to the direct will of the people; all citizens eligible to vote for their state legislatures can elect representatives, and anyone over 25 and over 7 years a citizen of one’s state is eligible to be elected.

            Publius, in Federalist 57, expects the representatives to feel grateful to those who elected them at thus at least temporarily act in their constituents’ interests. By frequent elections (every two years), they experience “a habitual recollection of their dependence on the people” and thus greater accountability to them. Furthermore, provided a spirit of vigilance exists in the society, the representatives will be checked by their inability to make a law not binding on themselves.

            The Senate is a branch of Congress designed to confer political stability; the senators were originally appointed more selectively by the state legislatures, and qualifications for the Senate are higher—as a greater degree of wisdom, experience, and presence in the United States are needed to successfully deal with foreign powers (Federalist 62). The longer duration of senatorial terms enables to government to undertake long-term projects that “depend on a succession of well-chosen measures”; the senators’ longer terms give them an incentive to pursue such projects but also render them accountable for any mistakes (Federalist 63).

            The Senate is also a necessary defense against the people’s own temporary and irregular errors, passions, and delusions; it is a bulwark of stability against interested men who animate the masses toward injustice (Federalist 63). In order for a law to be passed, it must be approved by both legislative bodies -- the House, which represents the people, and the Senate, which represents the states, thus furnishing a double check against unjust laws.

            Ultimately, the bicameral legislative branch is a means of preserving the rule of the people while preventing it from degenerating into true democracy, i.e., rule by the mob. The American legislature was designed to be accountable to the people, hindered in any attempts at political usurpation, and used to facilitate political stability.

G. Stolyarov II is a science fiction novelist, independent philosophical essayist, poet, amateur mathematician, composer, contributor to Enter Stage Right, Le Quebecois Libre,  Rebirth of Reason, and the Ludwig von Mises Institute, Senior Writer for The Liberal Institute, weekly columnist for GrasstopsUSA.com, and Editor-in-Chief of The Rational Argumentator, a magazine championing the principles of reason, rights, and progress. Mr. Stolyarov also publishes his articles on Helium.com and Associated Content to assist the spread of rational ideas. His newest science fiction novel is Eden against the Colossus. His latest non-fiction treatise is A Rational Cosmology. His most recent play is Implied Consent. Mr. Stolyarov can be contacted at gennadystolyarovii@yahoo.com.

This TRA feature has been edited in accordance with TRA’s Statement of Policy.

Click here to return to TRA's Issue CVIII Index.

Learn about Mr. Stolyarov's novel, Eden against the Colossus, here..

Read Mr. Stolyarov's new comprehensive treatise, A Rational Cosmology, explicating such terms as the universe, matter, space, time, sound, light, life, consciousness, and volition, here.

Read Mr. Stolyarov's new four-act play, Implied Consent, a futuristic intellectual drama on the sanctity of human life, here.