CUNY Senate as Fatal Flaw of the Madisonian System Paper

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CUNY Bernard M Baruch College


the links to federalist paper 62-66 fed 62 fed 63 fed 64 fed 65 fed 66

.Read Federalist Papers 62-66.In a system of government that’s not very democratic, the Senate was intended to be a check on democracy.Six year terms insulate Senators from the whims of public opinion.States are equally represented, and that’s how states with very small populations can protect themselves or dominate states that are much more populous.

Article V of the Constitution effectively requires equal representation in the Senate, so not even a Constitutional amendment can even the population represented in that body.At one time, the most powerful part of New York City government was the Board of Estimate which gave each borough equal representation.The Supreme Court struck down that arrangement for violating the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th amendment.

You also want to look at the 17th amendment, the filibuster, the powers that the Senate has that the House doesn’t.Should some of those responsibilities be transferred to the House?

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Branches of American Government Below are links for the president, the House and Senate and the courts. The overall structure of the Madisonian Model is covered in Federalist Papers 47-51: The House of Representatives in 52-61; the Senate in 62-66; the president in 67-77; the courts in 78-83. The key to the organization of Congress is bicameralism, the dividing of the legislature into two houses. Every state legislature is bicameral except for Nebraska which has one house. Bicameralism in the state legislature is less significant than it once was because both houses must be apportioned in a way that puts roughly an equal number of people in each district. The United States Senate (100 members, two from each state) represents states rather than individuals. The apportionment in the House of Representatives (435 voting members) is adjusted every ten years to reflect changes in population. One state might lose representatives while another gains. In Article I, Section 2, you read which people are entitled to be counted for purposes of representation. Note the reference to "threefifths of all other persons." That refers to the slaves. The Southern states wanted all slaves counted to swell the number of representatives in the slave holding states (Needless to say, no representative would have had the slightest interest in the slaves themselves.). Northern states wanted no slaves counted so that the political power of the Southern states would have been diminished. The compromise, taken from a similar agreement in the Articles of Confederation, was to count three-fifths of the slaves. A deplorable explanation of the compromise can be found in Federalist 54. Senators originally were selected by state legislatures. Popular election began with the 17th amendment adopted in 1913. The Senate, but not the House, has the power of confirmation or rejection of presidential nominees to the federal courts and to top positions in administrative agencies. The Senate also has the authority to ratify or reject treaties that the president has negotiated. Congress legislates by considering a bill that has been introduced in each house. Committees and subcommittees with jurisdiction over the bill's subject hold hearings where experts and interested parties comment on the proposed legislation. Lobbyists testify and also work behind the scenes with the committee's staff to shape the bill. Inevitably, if the bill passes both houses, the two differing versions will have some differences. A Conference Committee, made up of members of the House and Senate) 1 meet to negotiate an identical common bill. That bill then is voted up or down by the House and Senate. If it is passed, the president must decide whether to sign it into law or veto it. If he vetoes, the bill is returned to Congress where it will become law if 2/3rds of the House and Senate vote to override the president's veto. Congressional power is specified in Article I, Section 8 where those powers are listed. Two powers are worth noting. The "commerce clause" and the "necessary and proper clause" combine to give Congress the authority to create administrative agencies. In enabling acts, the laws that give agencies their authority, Congress normally refers to the impact on the economy of the problem it's addressing. The economic impact engages the commerce clause, and the agency can be considered necessary and proper to alleviating the economic problem. The Framers rejected calls for a plural executive, leaving the presidency to one person. By its structural nature, the presidency is normally the branch that dominates the government during a time of crisis. The president is especially important in the area of foreign policy and national security. The president is elected directly by electors who now are chosen, state by state, through popular votes. In the early history of American voting, electors sometimes were chosen by state legislatures without any popular participation. The presidential candidate who receives a majority of electoral votes wins the office even if that candidate loses the national popular vote. If no candidate wins a majority of electoral votes, the House of Representatives chooses the president with each state having one vote. We had such elections in 1800, 1824 and 1876. The Constitution’s description of presidential power is not so specified as that for Congress. The president's power relates more to roles such as Chief Executive and Commander in Chief. Informally, the president has power as the head of his political party and often because of his personal qualities. Presidents like Franklin Roosevelt, John Kennedy and Ronald Reagan could influence people by the force of their personalities. Jimmy Carter and George Bush - not so much. Hamilton described the judiciary as the branch, "least to be feared" because it "lacks the power of purse or sword." But the courts, as an unelected branch with virtual lifetime tenure, find themselves free to make decisions that no elected official would risk. Abortion, affirmative action, same-sex marriage and other contentious issues are sometimes determined in the courts. Judges are limited in that they have to wait for cases to be presented to them even if they think the president or Congress has acted ultra vires, beyond the authority of the 2 branch. But they can exert great policy influence if they "fashion a remedy" to solve the problem or issue over which they have ruled. This eleborate system of separation of powers and checks and balances persuaded the Framers at the Constitutional Convention that individual liberty was protected, and no explicit statement of individual rights was necessary. During the ratification process, however, the absence of an explicit listing of rights became a serious concern even among people who voted for ratification. James Madison, respecting the views of his opponents, composed the Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments, shortly after the Constitution was ratified. Later amendments made the governing culture more democratic by extending the right to vote to non-whites, women and people 18 years old. Other amendments have permitted the income tax, refined presidential succession, term limited presidents, banned the sale of alcohol then repealed that ban and changed the inauguration day from March 4 to January 20. 3
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Explanation & Answer


The Senate as Fatal Flaw of the Madisonian System: Outline

a. Unlike the House of Representatives, the senate representation is based on states,
with each one being represented by two senators.
b. There is a possibility that in the foreseeable future, seventy members of the Senate
will represent thirty percent of the American population.


A lot of people focus on the benefits of the Senate as a check on legislation and they
put a blind eye on how it can be injurious.


It is rare for people to betray their own interests but their representatives can betray
their interest.


As stated, the Senate has a lot power compared to other institutions and the Senate
being the court of impeachment is a sign of aristocracy.

Running head: THE SENATE


The Senate as Fatal Flaw of the Madisonian System
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The Senate as Fatal Flaw of the Madisonian System

Unlike the House of Representatives, the senate representation is based on states, with
each one being represented by two senators. There is a possibility that in the foreseeable future,
seventy members of the Senate will represent thirty percent of the American population.
Therefore, the Senate is a fatal flaw in t...

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